Voz media US Voz.us

Fentanyl: a massive threat invading North America

The drug was listed as a major external threat by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's 2023 annual threat assessment.


Jeff Anderson/ Flickr

Published by

A report from national intelligence agencies declared fentanyl as one of the greatest threats to the country’s safety. Specifically, fentanyl was considered to be the greatest public health hazard coming from abroad. The report, titled Annual Threat Assessment 2023, was published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (D/CIA).

The intelligence agencies' document links the threat of fentanyl to international criminal organizations. At the same time, the document clearly states that most of the fentanyl is being trafficked from Mexico. There, it is produced thanks to the import of low-cost chemical products from China.

According to information available to intelligence agencies, these criminal organizations obtain the active ingredients necessary for the production of fentanyl from Chinese and Mexican intermediaries with ties to the chemical industry. International controls are circumvented by mislabeled shipments or shipments with unregulated dual-use components.

Mexico and China are the source of fentanyl

This China-Mexico axis means that fentanyl, despite being a threat to U.S. national, has an essentially international source and therefore the solutions involve measures outside the borders of the United States. Texas Republican Congressman Brian Babin already stated in September that Mexican and Chinese drug cartels had effectively declared war on the United States.

Fentanyl is a synthetic drug derived from opium that has effects 50 times more potent than heroin. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it resurfaced with a vengeance in 2013, since then becoming the subject of a true epidemic. According to government data, in 2022, an average of 150 people died per day from overdoses of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Nationally, synthetic opioids rank first by far in terms of causing overdose deaths. Their high addictive component and the ease of manufacturing and transporting them in pill form are two of the reasons why this drug invaded the streets of North America, creating the biggest public health crisis of the decade.

The epidemic generated by this drug was documented in a hard-hitting graphic report in the Daily Mail. It shows how the so-called fentanyl "zombies" flood many downtown streets of the country's major cities.

Lack of determination in the White House

There has still been no definitive action by the Biden administration in the fight against this epidemic. This was highlighted by an initiative of the attorneys general of 18 states, both Republicans and Democrats, who demanded that President Biden declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction. They were supported by the DEA, which called fentanyl "the deadliest threat the DEA has ever seen.” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland took a position in favor of considering drug traffickers as terrorist organizations.

Garland himself asserted that the Mexican government is not making sufficient efforts to end the problem. "They are helping us but they could do much more. I have no doubt about this," the attorney general said during an appearance before the Congressional Judiciary Committee.