Opinion – Attorney General Sessions Announces Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit | OPA | Department of Justice

Read the original press release from the US DoJ. It reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing the formation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, a new Department of Justice pilot program to utilize data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis that is ravaging families and communities across America.

Source: Attorney General Sessions Announces Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit | OPA | Department of Justice

The language of the press release is a bit sterile but Sessions’ speach adds some color and a touch of context.

This, of course, is Donald Trump‘s America and many of the people who voted him in to office are likely to be those most at risk of opioid abuse.

I am totally amazed at this response to the gathering opioid pandemic in the US. Fresh faced with my MBA, I was analyzing data looking for statistical abnormalities in my twenties, nearly fifty years ago, way before personal computers, in the days of massive mainframe computers with limited power by today’s standards.

I’ve also operated at executive level in both the public and private sectors. I seriously struggle to understand why the DoJ has not been analyzing this data routinely for years?

Drug overdose is now clearly the largest cause of death for the under fifties in the US, particularly in the lower educated and unskilled (typically those who voted for Trump). The Chair of the Fed has highlighted the US labor productivity problem because of drug abuse.

Most serious commentators speculate about the US opioid epidemic becoming a pandemic without serious policy interventions in the two core areas: (1) enforcement; and (2) rehabitilitation.

Let me ask an open question:

Massive funds are invested in the US military machine but why is Trump’s America not ready to stop the risk of an opioid pandemic?


“Misery Index” at lowest level since 1950s | Brookings Institution

English: At a meeting with representatives of ...

English: At a meeting with representatives of US public, academic and political circles. Русский: На встрече с представителями американской общественности, научных и политических кругов. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an interesting read from the Brookings Institution.

The article reports that the “Misery Index,” an economic measure invented by former Brookings economist Arthur Okun in the 1970s that combines the unemployment rate with the inflation rate, has been at its lowest levels over the past year since the 1950s according to calculations by Senior Fellow Gary Burtless.

Source: “Misery Index” at lowest level since 1950s | Brookings Institution

Whilst I’m not disputing the overall statistics, especially for America, I think this is misleading. It’s necessary to cut and dice the data by:

  • Country
  • Region
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Class
  • Ethnicity

In my view, in the UK and Southern Europe excessive austerity has influenced the Misery Index