A Hard Pill to Swallow

May 12, 2023

Earlier this week, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognized the second anniversary of National Fentanyl Awareness Day. It's a sad commentary on the state of America that we even need a National Fentanyl Awareness Day … but, we do.  

"Fentanyl is the greatest threat to Americans today,” said Anne Milgram, a DEA administrator. “It kills more Americans between the ages of 18 to 45 than terrorism, than car accidents, than cancer, than COVID. It kills nearly 200 Americans every day. And the number of children under 14 dying from fentanyl poisoning has increased at an alarming rate."

Fentanyl is killing more young adults in this country than cancer? Than COVID? Than car accidents? Wait, what? How did that happen and in less than three years?

Thanks to the Biden administration’s disastrous policies at our southern border, it’s not hard to figure that out. Our enemies saw a green light, a well-worn dirt highway or, should we say, a breach in a wall that was never finished?  

“In 2021 alone, the Administration eliminated or began to shut down 89 successful border security policies, leading to the current chaos,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, M.D. (R-TN). “The Mayorkas border crisis is enriching cartels and human traffickers. Violent cartel and gang activity is significantly increasing throughout the United States, and illegal drugs continue to pour over the border in massive quantities.”

One of those drugs is fentanyl. A synthetic opioid, fentanyl is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just 2 milligrams — the equivalent of a few grains of salt — can kill a person. In the throes of colliding crises, our country now faces record fatalities from drug overdoses, eclipsing 100,000 deaths, 71,000 from synthetic opioids alone.

In a May 10 speech on the House floor, Speaker Kevin McCarthy called out the Biden administration for not protecting Americans. “You can’t say the border is secure when enough fentanyl is seized at the southern border to kill every American 24 times over — and when CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] says it catches only 5 to 10 percent of the illegal drugs that are smuggled into America.”

McCarthy went on to point out that Biden’s actions, or more accurately inactions, sent a message to America’s enemies –– drug cartels and hostile nations alike: “The border is open. C’mon in.”

In Sen. McCarthy’s words, “The world listened. And the cartels acted. To this day, our southern border is being flooded by illegal aliens from more than 140 countries. Countries like: Mexico, Venezuela, Haiti, the Triangle countries, Yemen, Russia, China ... and others.”

Some nations on McCarthy’s list are actively conducting asymmetric or “unrestricted”  warfare against the United States, whether Americans acknowledge that fact or not. In this type of warfare, fentanyl is one of many weapons. Recently, illegal shipments from China containing fentanyl’s precursor ingredients were seized at a Mexican port. Shipments that make it through undetected find their way into clandestine labs in Mexico where they are made into pills and then smuggled across the southern border. Should we finish that sentence with “for the sole purpose of killing innocent Americans”? We could certainly argue for it.  

Talk to the dad in Texas who lost his 15-year-old son to a drug dealer selling Percocet pills laced with 4x the lethal dose of fentanyl. Or the Michigan mother who lost not one, but two sons, to fentanyl poisoning. Hundreds of stories like these are represented through images of lost lives displayed at the Faces of Fentanyl exhibit on a wall at the DEA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. While the memorial first started with 100 photos, Americans from across the country have sent the DEA more than 5,000 photos over the past year.

The DEA is sounding the alarm that the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels are hiding fentanyl in fake pills that look like oxycodone, Xanax, and Percocet. The cartels are also mixing fentanyl powder in with cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. This accounts for how people who were poisoned by fentanyl had no idea they were even taking it. Even worse, the cartels employ accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat to push their poison — advertising pills and powders as something else, all the while knowing there’s a deadly dose of fentanyl mixed in.

Exactly how is the fentanyl making its way into the United States? Chairman Green explained the cartel’s successful strategy in another House Committee hearing on March 15, 2023: “The cartels put out advertisements all over the world, $50,000 if you’re coming from China, $30,000 if you’re coming from Iran, $10-$15,000 if you’re coming from Central America,” he said. “They then flood those people in mass waves just like we saw in El Paso this week, compelling the Border Patrol to focus its resources at the Ports of Entry.  

“To use a military term, the cartels are neutralizing Customs and Border Patrol by forcing them to thin the lines in the rural areas. Then the fentanyl and the nefarious folks that they are trafficking into the United States come across in rural areas.”

And if you thought there was little to no connection between the cartels and China, think again. In April 2023, DEA announced the indictment of 28 members and associates of the Sinaloa Cartel operating in Mexico, China, and Central America. As recently as last month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called upon the Chinese government to “stop the unchecked flow of fentanyl precursor chemicals that are coming out of China.”

But let’s get real, is China going to listen to the United States right now? In its quest for global domination, China understands it must first bring America to its knees. China will stop at nothing to shift the balance of power in its favor even if that means allowing the free flow of raw materials to Mexico for manufacturing bait-and-switch drugs to kill innocent Americans.  

And that’s a hard pill for all of us to swallow.
—Annemarie McLean, Liberty Counsel writer

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