Fintan O’Toole: The Mexico wall is Trump’s opium for a drug-saturated people

The biggest drug problem in the US is not heroin or crystal meth, but painkillers

 Donald Trump: in a sense his wall is just another drug. For his fans, it is a fix of xenophobia that dulls the pain of the real epidemic that is blighting their lives and their own communities. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Donald Trump: in a sense his wall is just another drug. For his fans, it is a fix of xenophobia that dulls the pain of the real epidemic that is blighting their lives and their own communities. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

After marijuana, the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States is not heroin or cocaine or crystal meth. It is painkillers manufactured by respectable corporations and initially prescribed by doctors.

These are mostly opioids such as hydrocodone (marketed as Vicodin) or oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet). Approximately 91.8 million adults in the US have used such prescription pain relievers in the past year – a staggering 37.8 percent of the entire adult population. Of these, 11.5 million adults abused prescription pain relievers at least once in the past year – 4.7 percent of all adults.

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