Border Shut Down could be Good News for the Chronic Pain Community


By R Carter

In the debate on border security it’s difficult to grasp which solutions will provide appropriate security balanced with continued commerce between the U.S. and foreign countries. Anyone who’s barely conscious would have to admit that as the debate rages on, political wrangling around specific details in a rancor of tit for tat retaliation seems to be of more import to legislators than getting to solutions which serves the interests of America.

I too have been on the fence, taking in as many opposing perspectives as I could in my efforts to pick truths out of the rubble of insults and jabs. Finally, the White House itself proposed a temporary solution which may help break through some of the speculation and get some real facts which may help all of us decide which course of action is best.

Here are the broad strokes which I believe most American agree on:

  • There has been, in the last ten years, an unacceptable rise in the number of overdose deaths.
  • With regards to opiates, an 800% plus increase in Chinese, South American and Mexican Fentanyl, including its analogs, scream that the problem is outside the U.S.
  • Given the scope and size of these illegal imports it’s only rational to conclude a large portion of them enter the U.S. through our normal ports of entry.
  • Better data collection efforts are now revealing this trend; and that prescription opiates are not the cause behind the continued opiate overdoses occurring in the U.S.
  • Law enforcement has admitted they have done as much as they can without further funding and numbers added to their ranks.
  • The DEA has admitted in public press briefings that they can no longer arrest their way out of this problem as sources reside in other countries.
  • The death toll shows no signs of reversing, setting new highs with each passing year.

Assuming a majority of American’s broadly agree on these facts then the recent proposal by the White House to temporarily shut down our borders and ports of entry is a rational step for these reasons.

  • The opiate crisis has been declared and is widely supported as a national emergency.
  • Shutting down ports of entry will have an effect of flushing out those who sell and buy illegal substances.
  • While a border shut down will have a negative impact on commerce, it will be a burden equally shared by all American’s as opposed to government’s current tactic of attacking prescription opiates as the cause for increased overdose deaths.
  • I have to assume a partial strategy of government efforts in limiting prescription opiates is based on drying up the demand side of the equation. Applying the same strategy to illegal imports is a prudent move.
  • A temporary shutdown will have a greater impact on foreign economies than on domestic economies, forcing cooperation from foreign governments in fighting the drug war.

Strategies and actions which force cooperation from foreign governments, expose illegal importers, force domestic buyers to seek medical help for addictions, is beneficial to the chronic pain community in furthering our position that restrictions placed on medical prescribers is harmful for all Americans.