The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants Mexico and countries that supply precursor chemicals to make cheap and potent fentanyl to be held accountable and do more to stop illegal trafficking as deaths from the drug continue to rise in the US.
Chairman U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, DNJ, said more needs to be done within the United States and abroad.
“I urge the Biden administration to take additional steps to address the fentanyl epidemic,” he said. “… it is time for the United States to build a multilateral coalition to hold China accountable for its failure to meet its international obligations to stop illegal drug trafficking.”
Menendez said China must immediately implement the know-your-customer standard to combat fraud, corruption and money laundering or face sanctions. At home, he said more high-tech screening at the U.S. border is needed to disrupt open fentanyl sales on social media and improve access to treatment for people with substance use disorders.
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U.S. Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, said more than 100,000 Americans will die of drug overdoses in 2021. He said fentanyl is responsible for about 70% of these deaths. Addressing the issue “will require very effective international cooperation,” he said.
“Another way to prevent this crisis is to identify and cut the pipelines,” he said.
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Those pipelines include chemicals formerly in China that Mexican cartels use to make fentanyl, which is then smuggled into the United States, Risch said.
“The same cartels are profiting from and perpetuating the illegal immigration crisis caused by the Biden administration’s poor enforcement of border security and immigration controls,” he said.
More than 46 million Americans have a substance use disorder, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“America faces the worst drug crisis we’ve ever seen,” he said. “It is tearing at the fabric of our nation. It presents a direct and growing threat to public health.”
Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Ann Milgram said the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation cartel are responsible for most of the illegal fentanyl entering the United States.
He said the two cartels buy precursor chemicals from China, which they use to make fentanyl powder. That powder is then pressed into fake prescription pills, Milgram said.
“This is the most serious drug threat our country has ever faced,” he said.
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The Mexican Army announced this week that it had seized a fentanyl pill manufacturing facility and laboratory with the largest methamphetamine production capacity in Culiacan, Sinaloa. The Army found approximately 282 pounds of potential granular fentanyl, 629,138 potential fentanyl pills, 220 pounds of potential methamphetamine, other chemicals and 28 biosynthesis reactors.
“Due to the number of reactors, the laboratory is the largest synthetic drug production capacity recorded historically and during the current administration,” Mexico’s secretary of national defense said in a news release.
Syndicated with permission from Center Square.