Drugs Are Killing More Americans than Ever Before. How Should Policymakers Respond?

Howe Whitman III , Daniel Wiser, Jr. & Charles Fain Lehman

September 10, 2023

Almost nobody is taking America's drug crisis seriously. We talk about it plenty, but that talk rarely acknowledges what distinguishes today's drug epidemic from past ones: Those earlier crises inflicted many more or less equally weighty harms — to users' health, to families, to communities. In this crisis, one problem dwarfs all others: death. Drugs have changed, probably for good. They now kill their users. A haphazard public response was more tolerable when the harms of drug use were more spread out and took time to accumulate. But with tens of thousands poisoned to death every year, bolder action is required.

Guest Charles Fain Lehman joins us to discuss how policymakers can help flatten the cycle of drug use and death.

Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

This podcast discusses themes from Charles's essay in the Summer 2023 issue of National Affairs, "How to Think about the Drug Crisis."



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