(The Center Square)
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee wants to hold Mexico and countries that supply precursor chemicals to make cheap and potent fentanyl accountable and do more to stop illegal trafficking as drug-related deaths rise in the United States.
President US Sen. Robert Menendez, DNJ, said more needs to be done in the US and abroad.
“I am urging the Biden administration to take additional steps to combat the fentanyl epidemic,” he said. “… it is time for the United States to build a multi-party coalition to hold China accountable for failing to meet its international obligations to stop illegal drug trafficking.”
China needs to immediately implement know-your-customer standards to combat fraud, corruption and money laundering or sanctions, Menendez said. At home, he said, more high-tech screening is needed at U.S. borders to disrupt open fentanyl sales on social media and improve access to treatment for those with substance use disorders.
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More than 100,000 Americans will die of drug overdoses in 2021, US Sen. said James Risch, R-Idaho. Fentanyl is responsible for about 70% of deaths, he said. He said solving the problem would require “very effective international cooperation”.
“Another way to prevent this crisis is to identify and cut the pipelines,” he said.
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Those pipelines contain Chinese precursor chemicals used by Mexican cartels to make fentanyl, which is then smuggled into the U.S., Risch said.
“Those same cartels are profiting from and prolonging the illegal immigration crisis caused by the Biden administration’s weak enforcement of border security and immigration controls,” he said.
More than 46 million Americans have substance use disorders, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“America is facing the worst drug crisis we’ve ever seen,” he said. “It is tearing apart the fabric of our nation. It presents a direct and increasing threat to public health.
The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are responsible for the majority of illegal fentanyl entering the United States, said Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram.
The two cartels buy precursor chemicals from China that they use to make fentanyl powder, he said. That powder would then be pressed into counterfeit prescription pills, Milgram said.
“This is the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced,” he said.
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The Mexican military announced this week that it had seized a fentanyl pill manufacturing facility and a laboratory with the largest methamphetamine production capacity in Culiacan, Sinaloa. The Army found about 282 pounds of possible granulated fentanyl, 629,138 possible fentanyl pills, 220 pounds of possible methamphetamine, other chemicals and 28 organic synthesis reactors.
“Due to the number of reactors, the laboratory has the largest synthetic drug production capacity, recorded historically and under the current administration,” Mexico’s National Defense Secretary said in a news release.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.