WASHINGTON – During a Senate hearing this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas declared that fentanyl is the “single greatest challenge” that the United States faces. He revealed that a record-breaking 75,000 Americans died due to fentanyl last year, which is equivalent to more than 200 deaths per day.
Mayorkas claimed that more than 90% of the fentanyl is being smuggled through the southern border by two Mexican drug cartels, although some of the components used to create the drug are made in China.
“These cartels are ruthless and have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans,” Mayorkas added.
The Department of Homeland Security Secretary is proposing harsher penalties for those who engage in fentanyl trafficking, and is urging the government to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in advanced technology to prevent drug smuggling across the southern border.
“One backpack of fentanyl is dangerous, but we’re seeing transport trucks flowing by the thousands across the border every day,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said.
Mayorkas stated that in addition to tackling the production of fentanyl, the government must also address the demand for the drug. However, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham noted that many individuals who succumb to fentanyl overdoses are not intentionally seeking the drug; instead, they are unknowingly purchasing pills, like Percocet, that are laced with fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is coming into the country at an alarming rate, and more Americans are dying as a result,” Graham stated.
The prevalence of fentanyl and its impact on public health continue to be pressing issues that demand immediate attention from policymakers and law enforcement agencies alike.