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Wealth & Poverty Review Wuhan’s Other Epidemic

Fueling America’s deadly fentanyl epidemic. Originally published at City Journal

The coronavirus has turned America upside-down. In less than three months, the virus has killed 70,000 Americans and destroyed more than 30 million jobs. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “enormous evidence” shows that the virus emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China — not in that city’s infamous “wet markets.” But while few question that the virus originates in Wuhan, many don’t know that Wuhan is also the source of another deadly epidemic: America’s fentanyl overdoses.

Fentanyl, a form of synthetic opioid, has quickly become America’s most dangerous drug. In 2018, fentanyl killed 31,897 people in the United States — more than twice the number of any other narcotic. The chemical compound is so lethal, in fact, that just two milligrams — enough to cover Lincoln’s beard on a penny — can prove fatal. In the past five years, fentanyl has devastated hundreds of American communities, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, where overdose death rates have skyrocketed.

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Christopher Rufo

Former Director, Center on Wealth & Poverty
Christopher Rufo is former director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He has directed four documentaries for PBS, Netflix, and international television, including his latest film, America Lost, that tells the story of three "forgotten American cities.” Christopher is currently a contributing editor of City Journal, where he covers poverty, homelessness, addiction, crime, and other afflictions. Christopher is a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow, and has appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC, CBS, HLN, and FOX News.