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Deadly Addiction: How Fentanyl is Fueling America’s Overdose Crisis

Fentanyl and the Overdose Crisis

Episode 33: The Rise of Illicit Fentanyl and the Overdose Crisis

Social Media Campaign to Raise Awareness — #StopTheSilence

This is the first year that there have been more than 107,000 verified opioid overdose deaths in US History, a likely grossly underestimated number. In this episode, Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC and David Livingston, LMFT, discuss this ongoing health crisis, the rising presence of Fentanyl in illicit drug use, and the threat this poses to our society and generations to come.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Welcome back, everyone, to a podcast to answer your questions on addiction recovery and mental health by Waismann Rapid Detox. I’m your co-host, Dwight Hurst. I’m joined today, as always by Clare Waismann and David Livingston. Today what has triggered our discussion today is David, you sent out an article.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It’s a new study that just came out from the CDC.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Yes. Yes, exactly. Group texts. I need to figure out who sent what, but it doesn’t matter. It is. An article by Mike Stobbe is the one who summarized this, but you’re right. It’s data from the CDC and it’s titled U.S. overdose deaths topped 100000 in one year. Officials say an estimated 100000 Americans died of drug overdose in one year. Never before seen milestone that health officials say is tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and a more dangerous drug supply. I’m not going to read the whole thing. I just got into that paragraph.

David Livingston, LMFT: I read the article too.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Yeah. So let’s dig into this. I know we’ve touched on this before. You know, the obvious epidemic nature of this. But this is I for me more than I don’t know if it’s more than anticipated. I think by talking to you, Clare, I’ve learned to anticipate it going up. But what are your thoughts, your guys’ thoughts about these numbers here?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: I, uh, unfortunately, um, I saw this coming a long time ago. Uh, more, unfortunately, I believe these numbers are low to what reality really is. The data is taken from, um, you know, um, but uh, the data coming out of morgues. So you know, that’s how they know how many people died. But uh, I believe that there is a lot of people that died due to, um, especially fentanyl, um and a number of different ways. There is also a lot of, uh, suicides that are overdoses. People really did not mean to die. So, um, as horrible as this is, I think the reality is much worse.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: I think it is difficult because those things are always underreported, I mean, particularly because of the criminal nature of some use, if it’s heroin use. People don’t like to talk about it and if they’re good at hiding it, you know, they may or may not be. You know, there are certain things that sometimes on reports, people don’t like to include the facts about that because of shame or embarrassment sometimes. And you know, and so I guess, you know, I don’t know the particulars of this study of where it all came from, but I think you’re absolutely right. Whenever we have an indicator of something like this, it’s almost always low, right?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, they say it is provisional, so this is not, you know, the final data. And sadly enough, every time we see a final data is worst and you know, the original data provided to us because they investigate more and more and they find more and more now. Um, this was until April. Now, if you figure out the amount of fentanyl that has walked into this country since April. And, uh, again. Unfortunately, um, data does not show up for the first six months to a year. Yeah, I think we’re going to see a tremendous higher number in the next year or so for the current time we’re living in.

David Livingston, LMFT: There’s no doubt I’m sure the numbers are much higher, as you’re saying, Clare, and I mean, just to put it in some perspective, you know, with when COVID was here, we shut down the whole country, half the world shut down. I mean, there was nobody went to work. Everyone wore masks. And there was a period where, you know, there were ultimately a lot more COVID deaths. But if you really look at, you know, I mean, if you want to scale it to to the impact of something like COVID compared to, you know, hundreds well well well over a hundred thousand deaths in a year. And I can tell you from just talking to some people very, very recently who were taking, you know, that people don’t even know what they’re getting in medicines anymore and where they think they’re doing this and then they find out that they’re, you know, you know, and whether they’re smoking it or they’re inhaling it, they’re, you know, they do a tiny bit and they’re on the verge of dying and didn’t even imagine that they were going to be in that level of jeopardy. So fentanyl is terrifying and it’s already wreaking unbelievable havoc. You know, if there is ever a reason to get off of and stay away from buying things and opioids off the street and so forth, it’s, you know, the danger is just profound.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: What some of the drive that increases the supply of fentanyl, is it cheaper for dealers to get a hold of easier to get a hold of?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: So yeah, yeah. I’m sorry, all the above. So, uh, you know, this is being manufactured mostly right in China and uh. Inserted in different drugs in Mexico and brought in through Mexico. The amount of fentanyl you need. You know, one little tiny bit of fentanyl, it’s four times stronger than most opioids out there. Now there’s also, um, analogs of fentanyl. That’s a completely ballpark different ballpark. I mean, you’re talking about thousands of times stronger. So, um. They can bring one pound of fentanyl into the country in a backpack, and um, they can overdose a whole city with it.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Wow. And one of the things that I believe opioid and heroin users get pretty used to is measuring out, they get to know what amount they can tolerate because tolerance and buildup and historically, that’s one of the most dangerous things about those drugs is that people are often wrong or they underestimate if they’ve been clean for a while and they relapse the amount now that they used to take can kill them. I know that, you know, that’s been or occasionally a crumb or a piece of pure heroin will get in, and that’s always been a problem. But now they’re saying you can almost count on the fact that if you’re buying opiates, if you’re buying heroin, you’re probably buying fentanyl. And the amounts are completely random from the perspective of the user to say whatever, whatever someone might say is my I’m doing air quotes here, “safety”. It’s never safe, exactly. But someone who has been practicing use for a long time might have the illusion of safety is definitely amplified if they don’t know they’re using fentanyl.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: When the user buys it, they have no idea there is fentanyl. These are people that are not tolerant to opioids. Overdosing is a certainty. They do not think they were even buying opioids. Your body is not used to that, and suddenly they take, you know, a drug that is much stronger than any opioid they could have ever tried. So they overdose for me it’s murder. Because, you know, if if you’re buying something and you’re being sold something else, a poison. For me, it’s pretty much murder at this point.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: It’s an interesting thing, and it would be interesting to know. It’s hard to capture data as far as marketplace data. That just doesn’t really exist right, to say, how far does that go from? Perhaps the person who maybe I know that I might purchase from? Are they aware? Is it the person that supplies to them? Are they aware? And that could amplify and multiply. The problem grows exponentially, the less that people know.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: In a way, if you’re asking how reliable is a drug dealer and how honest is a drug dealer? It’s comic, almost right?

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Right, exactly. I mean, even if the person is someone who doesn’t want their clientele to die because they want to sell. But at the same time, there’s a lot of that where it’s just there’s no personal attachment. And I think I think and a lot of times, certain drugs lend themselves more to that where an opiate user is going to be dependent upon finding drugs to avoid withdrawal. So there’s also a drive inside that person, right, to say, you know, I may not even be chasing a high anymore. I’m just trying to find and I need to today or else I’m going to be in trouble tomorrow physically. And so more likely to make a, I say, an unwise decision. I mean, even compared to the decision to buy heroin. Yeah, there’s a desperation.

David Livingston, LMFT: It’s a free for all with. I mean, like, like you’re saying, Clare, you know, other drugs, you know, benzodiazepines, if they’re being bought off the street and often they’re made to look like other prescription drugs or other things, you have no idea what you’re getting. And it can be laced with fentanyl. How much? Nobody knows. People selling it don’t know. I mean, it’s I don’t think it’s ever really been as bad as it is right now in terms of. And there’s I mean,

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, I’ve been at least in the last twenty-five years that I’ve been working in this field. It has not David.

David Livingston, LMFT: So there’s well, there’s always been dangers. The danger now is at a level. It’s it’s profound. And so. I’m glad we’re talking about it because and it’s. It’s shocking to me that there isn’t more being done about it to just from a. I just that more isn’t being done, and it’s not, you know, even bigger in the media, in the public eye, and so forth.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: But no, it is. It’s uh, it’s extremely preventable. Most of what’s going on is preventable, but there is a total silence regarding, you know, this tragedy that is going on in our society. And you know, I believe the silence is fueled by political reasons.

David Livingston, LMFT: Be that as it may it, it’s because, like you said, the amount of fentanyl that you can carry in a backpack. There’s there will be no way to ever prevent it. So individually, families, health care workers, individuals are going to have to make decisions because if you’re playing around with this, you know, it isn’t. It isn’t experimental anymore. It’s you’re headed for trouble sooner or later. Especially if the deeper you get into it, where it’s harder to make, you know, deeper or not deeper, you don’t even know what you’re getting. So if there was ever a time

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: I agree with you David, and I disagree with you at the same time, I think there is as a society, there’s a lot we can do. I think we have nowadays social media, you know, that all kids are connected to around the clock. That could be a tremendous force to prevent what’s going on to educate people, what’s going on to warn people on what’s going on. Um, and I think is used to distribute the drugs more than to warn people of its dangers. So, um, I think a 14 or 15, a 13 or 16-year-old kid that is going through, you know, serious emotional issues, not always have that choice you’re talking about. Um, they also don’t have the, you know, ability to understand the consequences. You know, I agree and disagree with you. I think as a society, there’s a lot more we should be doing to save lives. Can’t save all of them. But we can definitely save quite a bit.

David Livingston, LMFT: Right. I agree with all of that. I’m just saying the chances of being able to prevent, you know, the transportation of drugs and so forth is is it’s never worked. And so we better take on other avenues, like you’re saying, like media, social media and all kinds of ways. I mean, I remember when I was in school and it’s a long, long, long time ago that someone would come in with needles and talk about heroin. And it was so terrifying just to look at it that it was like, Oh my gosh, you know, like, why would anybody want to do that? But I don’t think people, I don’t think in schools and so forth, people are getting educated at the of the real dangers that exist now. I mean, where kids are getting scared. Right? Because one of the biggest I’ve talked about this before. You need to be scared before you start to mess around with this because once you’re messing around with it, the fear goes down. You know, that’s one of the things that happens when you tend to be on any drug, you tend to feel less. And so you’re going to feel less fear. You need to feel scared upfront and early on. And I think there should be. I mean, one of the things we’re all talking about just in this discussion is the danger. So with the purpose of eliciting fear in people who are thinking about this or are aware of it. So, you know, it’s a dire situation right now with the fentanyl that’s coming at.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It is. I don’t think I think society has changed as well, and again, I’ll bring social media back because when we were growing up, all we had was, you know, somebody to come into our school and talk to us about something, you know, we didn’t have our phones, we didn’t have, you know, internet, we didn’t have all the things we have today that can, you know, not just provide us with information instantly but almost shape our minds and our thoughts. And I think this is unused and misused. That’s what I’m trying to say to you. Um, I think, um, you know, entertainers are a huge part of this. They could be, you know, creating campaigns and. You know, flooding the internet with the dangers of it. Um, so that’s where I’m coming from, and I think I keep going back to the same point because. I have never heard, and I’m sure, David, you talk to patients more in-depth than I do. I have never heard the almost indifference that especially the young patients are talking about their friends that passed due to overdose because it has become part of their reality. So they talk about “I lost two friends”, “I lost three friends”, you know, “I lost my brother”. So in such a mundane way, I think, is what’s going on. It’s not just affecting those that die is affecting generations to come in so many different levels. It’s like part of their heart. It’s not even feeling anymore.

David Livingston, LMFT: It’s almost like a type of PTSD where you’ve been exposed to so much that it no longer affects you in the same way. And so once you start talking about a hundred thousand deaths with so we’re talking about mostly young people, you know, I don’t know what the exact ages would be, but from the people I’m talking to like you’re saying, I mean, you know, there’s I’ve talked to people, I’ve talked to young people in their early twenties who’ve said that all of their friends are dead from this and they’ve left eight, 10, 12 people sometimes, sometimes while they’re here getting detox and so forth. They’ll be people who die. It’s so rampant that and it’s heartbreaking. And you’re right, it’s becoming just it’s like we’re announcing the number right. But you know, I mean, and that’s maybe why I compare it to look at the response to one hundred thousand people dying from COVID. I mean, the whole country just turned upside down the response. I mean, you know, in terms of a society which was profound. And if you look at that compared to one hundred thousand people dying from fentanyl overdose, primarily the response is next to nothing.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: You had, said Clare, that there’s a concern. You have that concern that if it were talked about or addressed the way to the level it should, it would open up some sounds like hard questions people might not want to think about or talk about when it comes to security of what’s coming into the country. I wonder if there’s also a hesitancy to engage because people still like to treat drug use as well. It’s a choice. Well, if you got sick and you got sick and well, because even within the COVID thing, there’s a lot of blaming of people who. And you know, some more valid than others or whatever. But to say, if you’re not taking precautions, then you’re spreading a disease. And I mean, we do have an almost it just seems like there’s almost a feeling of like, well, if you did a thing on purpose, then you get what you get. And as you put it, there’s a lot of people in vulnerable positions self-medicating or young people who are manipulated or just, you know, don’t or have it learned to accept it. Like we’re saying, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wonder if that’s some of the hesitation is still that sense of blame or shame that’s around drug abuse.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: So I think there is some of that. But again, I think we have come a long way with that. You know what I’m saying? Um, people expose a lot more shameful behaviors than that. And I think after, you know, the opioid crisis that showed that, um, you know, 82 year old married that had four hip surgeries became dependent on opioids and pain pills. Um, and we have lived through that, you know, prescription pain crisis on the last decade and a half. I think it changed how people saw, addiction is like everybody. Everybody I know knows somebody that has suffered from one addiction or another.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Do you feel like that brought the conversation in?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: No. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So that’s what I’m saying to you. I think I think it could be, but it’s again, it’s a number of factors, but I think that’s a very, very small factor when David brings COVID up that everybody, you know, took such a stand on it and they still do. They do because. Again, for political reasons or not, it is something that is everywhere in every part of our day and our phones are giving us alerts. The media is giving you alerts, the TV is scaring us, you know, so there is a lot of influence of those that have an agenda and wants to steer us one way or the other. The fentanyl crisis, um, sadly enough, there is no agenda to solve the issue. I think if we are going to think about the issues and I’m not just talking about the influx of fentanyl through our borders. You had a whole study from the CDC where, lack of accessible mental health was not discussed. So when we talk about people that were isolated during COVID, and that’s one of the reasons why you know, the overdose was so high, I’m sure that’s a major factor. But you’re talking about people that have mental health conditions. That have no other means to get help for that or have never been diagnosed. And even if they do, they don’t have the means to get appropriate treatment. Lack of mental health care is one of our number one flaws in this country and one of the reasons why so many tragedies happen. I mean, from drug addiction to murders to homelessness to so many things that affect our society.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: And I think that, you know, one health crisis feeds the other, right, where you’re seeing some of the economic realities where I mean, I’m seeing that where people maybe lose their jobs, which then means they lose their health insurance, right? And so they don’t get treatment or even medication, which can be very expensive. And then there’s also the isolation feature that happens where people are staying away from each other, and that isolation doesn’t lead to sobriety, generally speaking.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: But even the ones that do have health insurance, you know, health insurance pays for such a minimum portion. It’s true mental health care. So it’s um, you know, they get to see somebody one, two or three times, and that’s it. I mean, um, a psychiatrist is extremely expensive.

David Livingston, LMFT: It’s rare that people actually get treatment. it’s rare. I mean, far. I mean, so rare, I can’t even tell you it’s a serious commitment by both somebody who’s skilled in treating it and somebody who truly is committed to getting better. And you don’t see that combination happening very often. And we don’t talk about it with the seriousness and the gravity that is necessary to actually give people better. You know, there are so you know, and I think I think really we just glance off it if we glance often in terms of treatment. And you get the research that says this is helping, that’s not helping. But it’s like an all successful treatment and in getting good and are things getting better in anything? There has to be a profound commitment to working at something. And this is a hard thing to get through and a hard thing to get over and a hard thing to get better at. And so the programs and the treatments that are in place don’t usually bear down at the level they need to. And just as you’re saying, Clare, it’s also not happening in terms of the way the media is handling it, the way that social media is handling it. I mean, if you compare that to the depth in which as a culture, we committed to the treatment of COVID in terms of the finances, in terms of the medical community, in terms of the, you know, the business community and socially. I mean, you forget your mask and you’re going to walk into a store. You get 10 people staring at you, right? And understandably like because everybody wants to have a I mean, but that’s the weight. Imagine if you had a weight like that bear down on something that’s just killed one hundred thousand people and mostly young people who primarily almost entirely would prefer not to be involved in that type of process, but are for tons of variables or factors, are kind of caught up in something that they don’t know how to really get out of.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Well, it kind of ties back to some of the nature of these types of drugs is not only are they addictive and dangerous, but the dependence featured or where people are just kind of trying to chase away the withdrawals many times. And I think people don’t factor that in if they don’t understand it right to know that once again, that’s where the desperation comes from even more than pleasure-seeking, which I think is how we think of it. A lot of times.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: I think it’s, uh, that there there is such a misunderstanding from the public on the “pleasure-seeking” term. I think, uh, most of the time is not pleasure-seeking it is truly to self-medicating of unwanted feelings are is such despair of that constant feeling of, you know of pain within that, once you feel a relief of that for the first time, it’s hard not to go back to. And then again, then on dependence takes hold, addiction, Chemical imbalance. All the above. You start having you go from Vicodin to OxyContin, from OxyContin to fentanyl, and things just snowballed to an endless, you know, tragedy. But um, I think more than pleasure, people seek substances because they just can’t handle how they feel and that’s that goes back to mental health. I think if they are able to receive the mental health assistance they need, we would see a lot less of, you know, the pain we see all around. 

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: Yeah, I mean, as we’re talking, it seems to me one of the things that could be helpful would be to make sure with your loved ones, especially if you know that they have symptoms or if they seem to be highly anxious or go through depressive episodes or, you know, whether we know directly or not trying to encourage people to get mental health treatment. And perhaps, you know, for those that have the means or the ability to say not only encourage their close family members or their friends to get help, but I mean, one of the things you could do is say, Let me help you get some help. You know, is there a way you can if you have the means to chip in or if you have insurance for your family and can redistribute expenses? Or, I guess, I guess, making it that priority and I’m not meaning to say that everybody can just do that. However, you know, there are sometimes if we reallocate our resources, we can find that we can at least engage with something or looking into community programs or just that. That might be something that would be a good strategy for people to help their loved ones.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, and I think again, you know, we can not just as health care professionals, but as, you know, part of a society. Discuss the lack of and how much is needed, so, you know, if you are denied or a family member the mental health care you need, you know, talk about it, talk about it on social media. You know, let people know, Um, maybe we can change the system a bit. We can’t just, you know, stay in silence and um, expect things to change. I think is important to talk about going back to the reason why we’re here today. Um, the dangers of any illicit drugs. It doesn’t matter if it’s methamphetamines, if it’s benzodiazepines, if it’s opiates if it’s out there, it’s likely laced with fentanyl. I think it’s extremely important to talk about that. Um, and um, I think it’s also important to talk about what’s missing and um, how we can change that. I think in schools, especially high schools, it’s so important to have, you know, somebody that can, you know, hopefully, diagnose something from the beginning so the student can get the help they need before they turn into drugs to self-medicate. So I think prevention and education is the foundation of any healthy society.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: You had started or we’re starting up a hashtag on Twitter, right?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, still there? Yep.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: What is that again?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: #StopTheSilence. Yep. But again, do you know what I’m saying? I think we have become we live so much our own lives as individuals that we forget that we are just a little part of something so much bigger than we are and we have the ability to have a voice.

David Livingston, LMFT: I think what you’re saying is exactly maybe the most important part of it because. It’s one thing to just publish a number and send it out. One hundred thousand people have died in a year from overdose. You know, unlike covert, COVID felt like it was going to affect everybody and that there was a mandate as a society and a culture, and it was used that because it was so, you know, you really saw you got to see the power of even in a divided culture right now over many, many things, you’ve got to see the power of people wanting to be protective of themselves and other people and what a society can do in terms of coming together and trying to sort of end something that is potentially dangerous to everybody and not good for anyone. And this is the same thing. This is this isn’t good for anyone. And yet, as you say, Clare, the silence is profound. You know, it’s you know, and I think partly because most people see it as something that’s affecting other people and not affecting them. And significantly, that can be true, you know? 

David Livingston, LMFT: I don’t know how you overcome that. You know, that would be something to really think about. And maybe it’s what you’re saying about social media and people who are. But there has to be so many people who get involved and it has to continue if you remember with COVID. I mean, it was nonstop and you know, I’d get my phone would be dinging nonstop with, you know, there was a report coming from everywhere for, you know, a year. It was the weight of it was so profound that it became part of people’s consciousness in a way that that that I had not seen anything else sort of in my lifetime really sort of be dealt with that type of gravity. And we could do that with this, too. We could absolutely do this with this too. It would just take a willingness to do it and you’d have to get the media and, you know, social media, the media in general and political entities. And you’d also have to get the government to all just bear down on it at a level together. But it’s possible.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It’s it’s possible. And I think each one of us starting something, number one, makes people feel good, that they are being productive. They’re helping something. And um. I think it is a combination of people together trying to reach the same goal. Even, you know, if they decide to go through different paths of reaching the goal, the goal is the same. Now can you just imagine, as David was saying, because my phone the last two years pinned for every time ICUs are getting full or every day showed us how many more cases have been tested, how many more cases got positive? Can you imagine if our phones would ping every day of how many overdoses that day? And if we put, we don’t need to put a name to it, but we can put an age. You know, we can put, uh, you know, a 15-year-old boy, uh, 18-year-old girl. We can, you know, something.

David Livingston, LMFT: If every news organization covered it every single day for one year. And everybody’s phone would ding in the same way, if you just did it through that one avenue, you could change the consciousness of this epidemic. You’re a hundred percent, right?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah. Of course, we can. But again, David, there are reasons why he’s not done. You know, the reasons, um, that uh, we saw that with COVID. So people ran and got their shots and protected themselves and used their masks and whatever else. Um, there there is a complete disregard for people’s mental health.

David Livingston, LMFT: It’s also the right, well, their lives, too. It’s interesting, I mean, why do you think there isn’t a desire? I mean, because really what you saw was the media. I mean, you know, when you see the media get really ramped up on a subject, I mean, they will go with it and it will be front and center and everything that happens will be oriented towards that. And this has not happened with this and the more I think about it now that we’re having this conversation. Why a hundred thousand people?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Because of political reasons, and it’s not a 100000 people is much more than 100000.

David Livingston, LMFT: No, no question. No question. It could be. It could be one and a half times that. I don’t know, but it’s… It’s much, much more than a hundred thousand right, which is just shocking as a number.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Listen on my way on. If you ever take the four or five to century city, you’re going to see a huge electric billboard that shows how many people this year have died of cigarette smoking. Mm-hmm. And the numbers change continuously. Right to one of those billboards in every major city showing how many people have died of fentanyl?

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: That would be something, wouldn’t it? I mean, I mean, talk about rasing awareness.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It’s simple. Yeah, we ha- we have the ability to do that very easily. Mm hmm. But you can do it cigarettes. I guarantee you we can do overdoses. 

David Livingston, LMFT: But how about if you got the L.A. Times in New York Times, The Washington Post, Fox News and every, every other major outlet to to to spend one minute a day for the next year and send things out because they send a million things out all the time. It’s part of what they do. It wouldn’t take us, wouldn’t cost them a nickel. And they just sent that all out and you just got the major news organizations to send out a…

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Because it is not part of their agenda. We go back to the same point. Say, why is fentanyl coming in? They know the city in Mexico, where most of the fentanyl is being produced.

David Livingston, LMFT: I don’t I do not think. I think, you know, in the end, it’s going to have to be dealt with. I think your first idea was the best. I don’t think you’ll ever. I think I don’t think. And I could be wrong. I certainly have no expertise in this. But the idea of trying to stop drug people from making drugs or transporting to the US is never, ever, ever worked. So I’m, you know, not that we shouldn’t do everything we can to…

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: And I hear you, David, on that, but you’re talking about a completely different story right now. Yeah. We have reached a completely different stage of bringing drugs into this country. And again, you’re not talking about drugs that people get addicted to, and, you know, years later, they go to rehab. You’re talking about people being murdered. You’re talking about people that use for the first time and they die. It’s a different story altogether when you know, when I asked Dwight today to talk about this is because people need to be warned. Whatever people are buying out there, I don’t care if it looks exactly like a Percocet. It’s fentanyl.

David Livingston, LMFT: Well, do you know what the major demographic of the people who are dying is? Demographics?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Yeah, it is in the study, I mean, it’s mostly, um, I would say and I don’t want to be exact because I don’t have the study in front of me here. You’re talking about, uh, late teens to early twenties. I’m sorry to late twenties. But it starts the study starts showing kids as early as 13 years of age.

David Livingston, LMFT: And what is the race of the people who are dying mostly?

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: What’s the race?

David Livingston, LMFT: Yeah. Are they? Is it mostly is it mostly white,

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: I don’t think that was part of the study.

David Livingston, LMFT: I think it’s predominantly young white people who are dying.

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: It’s people, period.

David Livingston, LMFT: That’s right, but that’s right. But I couldn’t agree with you more and it doesn’t matter who they are. 

Clare Waismann, RAS/SUDCC: Exactly. 

David Livingston, LMFT: Right. But what I’m saying is you’re talking about politically because it is just people. And if there is and what happened with COVID is the it didn’t matter. It was. It was. It was a moment where this country pulled together and all the people, no matter what. There was a there was an idea that we have to look after and take care of each other. And there was a, you know, and not everybody went along with it, but profoundly that was the feeling. And that’s what it should be here, too. It should not be political. It should not be where any group is is left out or it should be. Young people are dying in this country. It’s unbelievable. And, you know, politically, everybody should be on board and so should all the news organizations. And you know, and it’s it’s unbelievable that you don’t hear much about it at all. I think your caption is, you know, stop the silences is right.

Dwight Hurst, CMHC: And that’s going to do it for today. Thank you so much again for joining us. I’m looking forward to next week when we’re going to be talking about plans for the new year. That’s coming up, as well as talking about the anniversary of the Waismann Center and some things that tie in with that and learn a little bit more about the treatment. This podcast is a production of the Waismann Method Rapid Detox, Clare Waismann and David Livingston. Join us to share their expertise on addiction and recovery. Our music for this and all episodes is the song Medical by Clean Mind Sounds. This podcast is produced by Popped Collar Productions. You can go to Popped Collars Net to learn a little bit more. Please go to opiates.com To learn more about Waismann Method, as well as learning how to contact us to share your questions. You can also email your questions to us at info@opiates.com. Or hit us up on Twitter @opiates. Thanks again for joining, we will be back to answer your questions again soon. Remember to keep asking questions because if you ask questions, you can find answers and if you can find answers, you will find hope. We’ll talk to you again soon, bye-bye for now.