WASHINGTON D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has unveiled a new strategy to combat the deadliest drug epidemic in the history of the United States. The plan comes just days after DHS revealed that illegal drugs are expected to be one of the biggest threats to national security in 2024.
“While terrorists pose an enduring threat to the Homeland, drugs kill and harm far more people in the United States annually,” DHS wrote in its annual threat study.
The new strategy outlines four main goals, including reducing the international supply of illicit opioids, reducing the domestic supply of illicit opioids, attacking those who enable illicit opioid trafficking, such as illicit finance, cybercrime and weapons smuggling, and conducting outreach with private industry.
In order to do this, officials say they’ll assign more agents to track shipments that could contain the ingredients used to make powerful synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says China is the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.
DHS will also send more investigators to the U.S.-Mexico border, another area where illicit drugs are often smuggled into the country, and they hope to work more with international partners to prevent drug trafficking.
“Our nation continues to face an unprecedented epidemic of deaths from illicit synthetic opioids – our citizens are dying every year at an unimaginable rate,” said HSI Executive Associate Director Katrina W. Berger.
Furthermore, DHS says investigators will target the cash that Mexican cartels use to pay for their drug smuggling businesses.
In fiscal year 2022, investigators seized more than 1.8 million pounds of narcotics and more than $5 billion in illicit currency and assets.