Mexico major source of fentanyl entering US, report says

February 8, 2022

Mexico has replaced China as the “dominant source” of fentanyl and synthetic opioids entering the United States, a new government report says.

From 2014 to 2019, most of the pure fentanyl seized by US authorities came from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), according to the report from the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking.

“Since then, Mexico has been the dominant source of illegally obtained fentanyl,” the report says. “The drug is manufactured there in illegal labs using precursors from Asia – mainly the PRC – and is mainly smuggled overland to the United States.”

According to the report, fentanyl is being smuggled across the US-Mexico border in packages, vehicles and on people. Because the drug is so potent, “it’s hard to ban as only a small physical amount of this potent drug is enough to meet U.S. demand, making it highly profitable for traffickers and dealers,” the report says.

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid prescribed to treat severe pain. However, people misuse it for its ability to produce a powerful high and feelings of euphoria.

The commission is a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers, experts, and officials of federal departments and agencies.

In a disturbing note, the report said Mexican drug cartels sometimes manufacture the drug in counterfeit tablets with brand names such as Adderall and Xanax, meaning some people who consume fentanyl don’t initially look for it.

About 100,000 Americans overdosed and died in a recent 12-month period, mainly due to fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs, says a letter accompanying the report from U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and U.S. Representative David Trone of Maryland .

“The drug overdose crisis in the United States claims more lives each year than accidents involving firearms, suicide, murder or motor vehicles. This is one of our most pressing national security, law enforcement and public health challenges, and we must do more as a nation and as a government to protect our most precious resource, American lives,” the letter reads.

The report makes recommendations for the US to reduce the flow of fentanyl.

Raise the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Executive Office to a cabinet level. Disrupt the drug supply through targeted surveillance and enforcement, such as offering federal grants to law enforcement agencies to quickly investigate drug overdoses. Use public health agencies to educate the public and reduce demand. Cooperate with countries involved in the production and distribution of synthetic opioids. Improve surveillance and data analysis to enable timely interventions and interventions.

The Commission to Combat Trafficking in Synthetic Opioids is a bipartisan group of legislators and officials of federal departments and agencies.

In 2017, then-President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.

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