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Mexico needs to do more to help combat the fentanyl crisis plaguing America, the head of the US Drug Enforcement Administration told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer.
“We know that the vast majority are from Mexico and we know that it is summarized openly,” said Anne Milgram, the administrator of the DEA, during a Friday appearance in “America’s Newsroom”.
“And so is Mexico – they know it’s happening, we know it’s happening and they need to work to stop it.”
The fentanyl crisis began nearly a decade ago with illegal distribution in North America in 2014, according to a DEA intelligence report. The drug manufacturing and distribution ecosystem has since become increasingly complex, with India and China playing a role in the process.
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Mexico hits the headlines for its proximity to the United States, but China plays a major role in the fentanyl supply chain. The DEA in 2019 labeled China “the main source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail … as well as the main source of all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
“The chemicals come from China,” Milgram said. “Then they are produced in Mexico, and they are produced openly all over the country and, just to point out this, last year we seized 20 million fake pills and 15,000 pounds of fentanyl.”
“That’s 440 million potentially lethal doses of fentanyl that we already seized last year,” he added. “This year, to date, we have already seized more than 20 million fake pills.”
This increasingly diverse and international fentanyl ecosystem makes the problem of dealing with the crisis much more difficult. The United States has to rely on cooperation with those other nations, which has led to mixed results.
Beijing has worked to ban 175 chemicals related to synthetic drug production, 26 of which are related to fentanyl and many that were “precursor agents,” according to a 2020 Brookings report. But cooperation between Chinese and Mexican law enforcement – and with the United States – it remains minimal.
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Milgram discussed two major Mexican drug cartels responsible for most of the distribution of fentanyl in the United States: Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which she says have poisoned Americans at “record rates”.
“We lost 107,622 Americans last year,” he explained. These two cartels are the main culprits for the fentanyl and methamphetamine that are invading the United States and killing people. ”
“These two cartels are essentially working from China, where they are purchasing these chemicals that they are now using to process fentanyl and methamphetamine,” he continued. “These are no longer plant-based drugs. It’s a different and more deadly drug threat than we’ve ever seen in our country.”
The international nature of the issue makes it difficult for US authorities to deal without the help of foreign allies. Derek Maltz, a retired director of the DEA Special Operations Division, told Fox News Digital that education remains the agency’s best tool for fighting the crisis on the home front.
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“Education is key, but most importantly, we are making a lot of money towards opioid addiction and the White House has come up with new strategies to provide a lot of resources for opioid addiction, which is great because we need to heal. people who are addicted, ”Maltz explained.
“We need to provide mental illness services to people who are addicted. We need to help rehabilitate people who are opioid addicts,” he added. “However, you will never treat or educate a 13-year-old in the morgue. It’s too late. So we need to have more of a sense of urgency.”
Milgram reiterated the value of educating the public and providing parents with the tools to discuss the issue with their children, particularly because fentanyl is a “shapeshifter” that can appear “in any drug”.
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“[The cartels] they are intentionally trying to deceive [your children] in buying something they think is an OxyContin, a Percocet and it’s not, “he said.” It’s fentanyl, and a pill can kill, one use can kill. And we see it every single day. “