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Fighting the Fentanyl Scourge in the Western Hemisphere

(FILE) Fentanyl pills found by officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration

Last year in the United States, authorities seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American.

Fighting the Fentanyl Scourge in the Western Hemisphere
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Last year in the United States, authorities seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American. And that’s only the fentanyl that was seized, warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken at this year’s Summit of the America’s. The number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 49 is synthetic opioids, notably fentanyl. It is a problem that requires local, national and international cooperation to be solved.

The City of Denver and the State Department signed an agreement to partner on building early detection systems to track the evolution of new synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, so that we can develop lifesaving interventions early on, explained Secretary Blinken.

“We’ll share our findings with partners across the hemisphere, so that we can inform locally led efforts to counter this public health and security threat,” he said. “Now, this is a powerful illustration of how solutions that we’re finding and answers that we’re finding at the local level can have a powerful impact on the most pressing, most urgent national problems and international problems we face.”

This crisis hit the United States first, but now it is spreading to Mexico and Canada, cautioned Secretary Blinken. “The numbers in Canada are dramatic, and we know it’s going to spread to other places in the world. Our market is increasingly saturated. The criminal enterprises that are engaged in producing and distributing synthetic opioids like fentanyl are trying to make markets elsewhere.”

Much of the fentanyl that’s coming into the United States starts halfway around the world with perfectly legal chemicals that are then diverted and made into fentanyl. So having the cooperation and collaboration of countries around the world to prevent that diversion is critical, said Secretary Blinken. It’s one of the reasons why President Biden is building an international coalition of concerned countries to work together to disrupt the fentanyl supply chain.

Law enforcement is another critical factor in getting the fentanyl crisis under control.

Denver’s success in dealing with fentanyl prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement, said Secretary Blinken “is a powerful example for other” Western Hemisphere cities on how to get ahead of the fentanyl crisis.