Statics from 2016 found that Opioid overdoses kill an average of 91 Americans per day. The Commission found that this number is averaging 142 per day already for 2017. This is over 4,000 casualties per month; and if the current numbers hold, nearly as many Americans this year will die from Opioid Narcosis as were killed during the entirety of the Vietnam War.
The report also didn't mince words about the culpability of Big Pharma in this epidemic. They noted that Opioid prescription rates and the rates of addiction are directly proportional. Two-thirds of Opioid deaths are from commercially manufactured narcotics--- Fentanyl, Percodan, and Oxycodone---along with the synthetic street-drug Heroin. "We have an enormous problem that is not beginning on street-corners; but often in the doctor's office and hospitals." the report read.
In its natural state, Opium is not (relatively speaking) an especially dangerous substance. It has strong medicinal properties as a sedative, pain-killer, and curative for respiratory diseases. But when concentrated into these synthetic compounds, it is extremely dangerous.
One of the reasons that Opioids are particularly prone to causing death by overdose is because they gradually build tolerance while not alleviating the addiction. For example, regular use of Heroin builds a need for stronger and stronger doses with continued use. Opioid addicts will literally go insane if deprived of the drug and will not stop even at murder to obtain it. Last week a doctor in Indiana was gunned down by an addict for refusing to write an Opioid prescription.
Opioid addiction also causes long-term physical damage, especially to the respiratory and digestive organs. In the latter, internal hemorrhaging is not uncommon. Opioid overdose is not a pleasant way to die. It generally results in pulmonary-respiratory collapse wherein the victim literally suffocates from the inside out. The drug Naloxone is an antidote for Opioid poisoning, and the Commission recommended funding for all EMT units and police departments to have access to it in an emergency.
The Commission called upon President Trump to declare a national emergency under the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act. The former of these was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1944 and would give the Federal Government greater powers of coordination with states to fight the epidemic. The latter would extend Federal powers to states similar to those in disaster relief situations.
This is an example of why we really needed to end the rule of the Deep State. Until Trump's Administration, government at every level was in complete denial about this problem. Now it's become a legitimate national crisis. The casualty rate is bad enough; but often what's not told in statistics are the numbers of collateral victims. Thefts and assaults committed to sustain the habit; families hurt by an addicted relative; the taxpayer cost in social welfare programs; diseases spread by addicts' lifestyles; and the general drain of community livability standards---none of this can be calculated.
But Big Pharma does a lot of calculating---all the way to the bank. And the cash they flood into political campaigns will ensure that Congress will never act. Hence the need for Trump to follow the Commission's recommendation and declare a State of Emergency.