More than 650,000 Americans have died of overdoses since the start of the opioid epidemic. Fentanyl, easily available and dangerously powerful, killed seventy thousand people in 2021 alone. Now, as the federal government estimates more than five million people struggle with an opioid addiction, states are increasingly looking for sweeping solutions to the crisis. What solutions are there? And what’s stopping them being enacted?
Keith Humphreys, drug policy advisor to George W Bush and Barack Obama, talks us through the state of epidemic. And The Economist’s Stevie Hertz heads to Oregon to see how its first-in-the-nation policies are working in practice.
This is the first part of a short series looking at the opioid epidemic in America. This episode considers the demand for the drugs, and in a few weeks we'll delve into the supply chain.
John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and Idrees Kahloon.
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