This is not the Silk Road – it is the road of death from Chinese laboratories, through Mexican cartels, to the American street. This is the route traveled by fentanyl – the deadliest opioid, which has killed 70,000 Americans in the past year alone. The presidents of China and Mexico at the Asia-Pacific Economic Community summit agreed to work more closely with the United States to block smuggling and stop the spread of the epidemic that threatens America.
Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller and anesthetic – a de facto drug, several dozen times stronger than heroin. It kills 70,000 people a year in America. Opioid overdose is the most common cause of death in people aged 18 to 50. A dose equivalent to a dozen or so grains of salt can kill.
For several years, American authorities have been talking about the opioid epidemic. Its origins date back to the 1990s. Encouraged by pharmaceutical companies, doctors began to prescribe strong opioid-based painkillers to patients en masse, often without justification. Millions of people quickly became addicted to them. When regulations were tightened, addicts began to look for drugs on the black market and online. Mexican drug cartels were interested in the business.
The overdose and opioid addiction crisis is the biggest social problem in the US today. Fentanyl kills regardless of age, gender, skin color or budget. His most famous victim was the artist Prince. Every emergency room and even fire department has a first aid kit in case of an overdose.
Talks at the highest level
When President Joe Biden met President Xi Jinping in San Francisco, fentanyl was the first topic discussed by the US side. The drug’s supply chain begins in China, where its prefabricated products are manufactured in chemical plants. Then they usually go to Mexico, where the cartels produce the finished drug and smuggle it to the United States. – More people aged 18 to 49 die from fentanyl than from shootings, car accidents or any other cause. That is why today we are taking action to significantly reduce the import of dangerous substances from China to the Western Hemisphere, Joe Biden announced.
China has so far maintained that fentanyl smuggling from its country to North America does not exist. Beijing advised Washington to solve its internal problems itself, rather than look for culprits elsewhere.
In June, the US Department of Justice openly accused four Chinese chemical companies for the first time of intentionally producing intermediates for the US market. – We are attacking the fentanyl supply chain at its source. “For the first time, we are charging Chinese chemical companies and their employees with conspiring to produce and export chemicals that are prefabricated from fentanyl,” said Lisa Monaco, deputy attorney general of the United States.
After meeting with Xi Jinping, President Joe Biden said that China has committed to act on smuggling. When asked whether he believed Beijing’s assurances, Biden said he would adopt a “trust but verify” approach.
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Main photo source: Reuters