WVXU: Research challenges political rhetoric about tie between drugs and immigration

Drug overdoses are on the rise, but it doesn’t appear to be the fault of rising immigration, according to an interview with two UC experts: Ben Feldmeyer, an associate professor of criminal justice, and Dan Arendt, an associate professor of pharmacy.

The past few years have seen a surge of drug overdoses -100,000 in 2022 -but there isn’t a correlation between the rise in immigration, says Ben Feldmeyer, lead author on a new study of immigration patterns and death by overdose.

The study found that even communities with a high immigrant population have the same or lesser levels of overdoses. The study was based on data from the Centers for Disease Control from 1999-2015, but immigration rates were also high during this time.

The cause of overdoses within the past few years has dramatically changed with the introduction of fentanyl. According to Arendt, fentanyl accounts for nearly 75% of all overdoses.

Although fentanyl is being seized at the southern border in large quantities, there is a broad body of research that shows most illegal drugs that come into the U.S. come in through legal points of entry, Feldmeyer says.

Listen to the interview.

Featured photo at top courtesy of Unsplash.

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