Prescription Practices and Education

Opioid Treatment in Denver: Debunking Myths Surrounding the Fentanyl Crisis

The vast majority of fentanyl entering the country is smuggled through official ports of entry—not bypassing them.

October 17, 2023
Opioid Treatment in Denver: Debunking Myths Surrounding the Fentanyl Crisis
With the United States in the throes of an opioid overdose epidemic, a distorted narrative is circulating, pointing fingers at immigrants for the crisis. As Denver, Colorado seeks opioid treatment solutions, it's essential to base actions on facts, not misconceptions.

Understanding the Source of Fentanyl

Contrary to claims by some conservative policymakers, the majority of fentanyl is not brought into the country by undocumented immigrants. Customs and Border Protection data reveals that the primary mode of smuggling fentanyl is through official ports of entry, predominantly by US citizens.

The Historical Context of Immigrant Scapegoating

America has a long history of associating immigrants with drug crises as a means of furthering exclusionary policies. For instance, Chinese immigrants were linked to opium in the 1880s, facilitating the Chinese Exclusion Act. Similarly, Mexicans have been wrongly associated with marijuana, leading to racially targeted policies.

Challenging the Stigma Around Drug Sellers

The Drug Policy Alliance highlights that many individuals, including some from immigrant backgrounds, may engage in drug selling due to economic constraints or a lack of integration opportunities. Understanding their complexities instead of vilifying them is vital for a more humane approach.

The Realities of Drug Policy

Research and advocacy have continually shown the pitfalls of strict enforcement without addressing the root causes of drug addiction. Policies that emphasize criminalization often exacerbate the problem. For instance, the Iron Law of Prohibition indicates that prohibitive measures lead to more potent drugs in unregulated markets.

What Denver, Colorado Needs

To effectively address the opioid crisis in Denver, Colorado:

  • Compassionate Response: A compassionate approach centered on public health and human rights is essential.
  • Access to Treatments: Increasing access to naloxone and treatments for opioid use disorders can save lives.
  • Prevention Centers: Overdose prevention centers and safe supply programs play a crucial role in managing and reducing opioid-related incidents.
  • End to the Drug War: The long-standing war on drugs and prohibition mechanisms have proven damaging. A different strategy, focused on human well-being, is needed.


To combat the opioid crisis effectively, Denver, Colorado, and the entire US, must separate myths from facts. Baseless associations and fearmongering don't serve the community but rather divert attention from genuine solutions. If you or someone you know is seeking opioid treatment in Denver, Colorado, rely on evidenced-based programs and interventions.

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