The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wants Mexico and countries that supply chemical precursors to make cheap and effective fentanyl to be held accountable and do more to stop illegal trafficking as deaths from the drug continue to rise in the United States.
Chairman US Sen. Robert Menendez, DNJ, said more needs to be done both inside the US 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 live up to its international obligations to stop the illegal drug trade.”
Menendez said China needs to immediately implement KYC standards to protect against fraud, corruption and money laundering or face sanctions. At home, he said the US needs more high-tech border screening to disrupt open sales of fentanyl on social media and to improve access to treatment for those with substance use disorders.
RELATED: Texas sheriff testifies to record number of bodies recovered in his rural county
More than 100,000 Americans will die from drug overdoses in 2021, said US Senator James Risch, R-Idaho. Fentanyl is responsible for nearly 70% of those deaths, he said. He said tackling the issue would require “very effective international cooperation”.
“Another way to stop this crisis is to identify and cut pipelines,” he said.
Support conservative voices!
Sign up to receive the latest Political news, insights and commentary delivered straight to your inbox.
These pipelines include precursor chemicals from 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 weak border security and immigration controls,” he said.
More than 46 million Americans suffer from 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 at the fabric of our nation. It represents an immediate and growing threat to public health.”
The Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel are responsible for the majority of the illegal fentanyl entering the United States, said Ann Milgram, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
It said the two cartels buy precursor chemicals from China, which they use to make fentanyl powder. This powder is then pressed into prescription pills, Milgram said.
“It is the most serious drug threat our country has ever faced,” she said.
Related: What an invasion looks like: Video shows hundreds of single adults walking calmly across borders, meeting no resistance
This week, the Mexican military announced that it had captured a fentanyl pill manufacturing center and the laboratory with the largest methamphetamine production capacity in Culiacán, Sinaloa. The Army found about 282 pounds of granular probable fentanyl, 629,138 pills of probable fentanyl, 220 pounds of probable methamphetamine and other chemicals, and 28 organic synthesis reactors.
“Because of the number of reactors, it is the laboratory that has the largest synthetic drug production capacity recorded historically and during the current administration,” Mexico’s Minister of National Defense said in a press release.
Published with permission from The Center Square.