Center for U.S. Policy Senior Fellow Lynn Webster, M.D. sends letter to CBS News, clarifying the scope of drug crisis.

December 20, 2021

Margaret Brennan
Face the Nation
CBS News
2020 M St NW
Washington, DC 20036-3304

Dear Ms. Brennan:

On yesterday’s morning’s “Face the Nation,” at the top of the show, you outlined what the show would discuss. One of the topics you planned to address was the “other” crisis in America. You told viewers that there have been 100,000 opioid overdose deaths.

This figure is incorrect. I believe you meant to quote the CDC’s statistics that there have been 100,000 drug overdose deaths. That number includes deaths that were due to drugs besides opioids. We have an overdose crisis in America that is much broader than an opioid crisis.

Most of the opioid-related overdose deaths were due to the use of such illicit substances as fentanyl and other street drugs. Moreover, most of the opioid-related deaths involved more than taking an opioid. As DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said on your show, many deaths were the results of fentanyl-laced products thought to be non-opioids. Although an illicit opioid may have been the major reason for the death, the deceased may not have intended to use fentanyl. For more information, please read the November 23, 2021 Pain News Network article entitled “Does U.S. Have Opioid Crisis or Overdose Crisis?

The producers and hosts of “Face the Nation” are committed to telling the truth. I hope that you will correct this error in a future segment so that your viewers can be more fully informed about the drug crisis in America. Having clarity about the problem is the only way we can solve it. Thank you for your consideration.


Lynn Webster, M.D.
Senior Fellow
Center for  U.S. Policy