More than 107,000 fatal overdoses in 2021 linked to fentanyl; need a strong US response against China and Mexico

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On August 27, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in El Paso, Texas caught a 14-year-old child crossing the border with 0.52 pounds of fentanyl concealed around his waist. . Since only a few grains of drugs are enough to kill, this child had what it takes to end more than 117,000 lives.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid produced in illegal underground labs in China, Mexico, and elsewhere, sometimes including the United States and Canada. But most precursor chemicals come from China.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), just 2 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to kill a new user unaccustomed to opiates. Due to improper mixing in illegal labs, doses of fentanyl pills vary widely. The DEA found pills with more than twice the lethal dose.

In April, authorities in the Oakland, Calif., area dismantled a fentanyl lab with 92.5 pounds of fentanyl, much of it rainbow-colored intended to hook children . This single bust was enough to kill 21 million people. Authorities in Oregon, West Virginia and Washington have also made big trips recently.

The total extent of American overdose deaths is shocking: over 107,000 in 2021 alone. And 66% of overdose deaths were from synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Who was responsible for protecting these Americans, other than President Joe Biden? But Biden is silent.

A Canadian investigation in June found that precursor chemicals produced more than 700 pounds of fentanyl, “enough to kill every person in Canada four times,” according to CTV News.

In British Columbia, Canada, 83% of 722 overdose deaths between January and April involved fentanyl.

Fentanyl is not just a disaster but an existential catastrophe waiting to happen.

Yet the governments of the United States and Canada are failing their citizens. China and Mexico, where much of the fentanyl comes from, are also useless.

Fentanyl’s precursor chemicals come mostly from China, where Beijing is resisting tighter controls.

“The United States itself is responsible for the root cause of fentanyl abuse in the country,” the Chinese Embassy in the United States explained in a statement quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

“The Mexican president has said his focus is on what he calls the economic roots of lawlessness and violence in Mexico, rather than dismantling cartels.”

It’s an excuse to do nothing, or worse, a demand for economic aid in exchange for spared American lives.

In early August, Beijing suspended cooperation with the US on narcotics issues, including fentanyl smuggling, in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

About 1 million fake fentanyl pills were seized in Inglewood, Calif., in July 2022. (Drug Enforcement Administration)

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is killing Americans with fentanyl to try to force us to stop supporting Taiwanese democracy. The CCP is weaponizing fentanyl in what should be considered a Reverse Opium War.

Overdose deaths are on the rise after a year and a half of a Biden administration that has been ineffective in publicly raising the issue with Beijing, let alone forcing change. According to Nikkei Asia in early August, “Although China banned fentanyl and its similar variants in 2019, it remains a primary source of illicit fentanyl and trafficked fentanyl-like substances in the United States.”

Given more than 107,000 American deaths, Beijing’s weaponization of deadly drugs to support its Taiwanese ambitions could be seen as an act of war. But the Biden administration is failing to protect Americans because it uses words, not deeds.

“At a time when illicit fentanyl continues to claim victims every five minutes, it is unacceptable that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] refuses any cooperation that would help bring to justice the people who traffic in these illicit drugs and who engage in this global criminal enterprise,” Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement. communicated.

“China has played and must play a key role in helping to disrupt the illicit flow of drugs like fentanyl and their chemical precursors,” he added, indicating that the US government would continue to push for international action.

The Biden administration is thus trying to blame the 107,000 deaths on the abstraction it campaigned on – the “international action” that isn’t happening.

We needed stronger protections years ago, before 107,000 Americans died. The Trump administration used the tariffs to force China to ban fentanyl in 2019. Yet Biden is now considering unilateral tariff cuts, against the advice of his own US trade representative, Katherine Tai.

Instead of cutting tariffs, we need to punish China and Mexico. Double the DEA budget. Close the Mexican border until this government cooperates. Relocate all production of chemical precursors to strengthen controls. Declare another war on drugs that will find, capture and imprison, with felonies and life sentences, all manufacturers, distributors and dealers of deadly illegal fentanyl, including those we capture overseas.

Either way, we must show serious purpose that gives voice to our dead with more than words.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

Anders Corr

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Anders Corr holds a BA/MA in Political Science from Yale University (2001) and a PhD in Government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe and Asia. His latest books are “The Concentration of Power: Institutionalization, Hierarchy, and Hegemony” (2021) and “Great Powers, Grand Strategies: the New Game in the South China Sea” (2018).