A bipartisan federal commission says that Mexico has supplanted China as the “dominant source” of fentanyl and synthetic opioids accounting for two-thirds of overdose deaths in the United States.
“This is one of our most-pressing national security, law enforcement, and public health challenges, and we must do more as a nation and a government to protect our most precious resource ― American lives,” said Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Democratic Rep. David Trone of Maryland, the commission’s co-chairs, in a letter with the report.
In its report, the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking warns that if the U.S. doesn’t crack down on the flow of fentanyl and also fund addiction treatment, many more lives will be lost.
The report also calls for investment in research to better understand addiction’s grip on the human brain and to develop treatments for opioid use disorder.
103,000 US Drug Overdoses Last Year
According to the CDC, a record 103,300 Americans died of drug overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021. The CDC said that about 93,000 people died of overdoses in 2020, a record at the time.
In fact, drug overdoses now surpass deaths from car crashes, guns, and even flu and pneumonia. The death total is close to that for diabetes, the nation’s No. 7 cause of death.