The United States has a long history of enacting laws to combat drug epidemics that take over our country. Due to the increase of overdoses related to synthetic opioid use like Fentanyl, from 3,000+ in 2013 to nearly 20,000 in 2016 (source: CDC), the legislative bill S. 1044: Fentanyl Sanctions Act is in the process of being enacted. Read the bill text at congress.gov
In an attempt to put an end to this powerful, yet readily available drug, the House of Representatives discusses and votes towards this amendment that would add to the National Defense Authorization Act in July. This amendment would place accountability on Fentanyl producing countries to prevent the trafficking of synthetic opioids.
How Has Fentanyl Become So Readily Available?
Due to its powerful potency, Fentanyl goes undetected to most users as it delivers similar euphoria and pain relief as heroin, with just 20x less of synthetic substance. Since Fentanyl is created in labs, unlike heroin which must be grown, the amount of Fentanyl available is limitless. Unlimited supply, unlimited high, now makes it the most dangerous drug America is facing.
Most pure Fentanyl travels directly from China into Mexico. It is then used to mix with and mimic the effects of popular street drugs like heron, meth, and cocaine. Mainstream pain pills like Xanax and oxycodone are even being replicated by pressing their common shape with small amounts of Fentanyl and mixed with common bulking agents. These small pills easily pass along through common stamped mail and spread throughout the US.
The original source of distribution gets by without a trace by changing multiple hands before even leaving China which then is transferred to another country for added layers of invisibility. That’s the purpose of this bill for China and other countries to become more proactive in the process of surveillance and seizure of Fentanyl traffickers.
History of Drug Trafficking Into The United States
Trafficking of drugs into the United States, dates all the way back to the 1800’s. During this time, immigrants traveling to California were quickly spreading opium around the area. This continued throughout other states and the US was steadfast by outlawing opiate use other than for medical necessity, by this time it was too late. Heroin addiction was prevalent among all states (1/5 of a million addicts) and underground sales were prominent.
These problems became even more severe once Mafia and gang related groups caught on to the monetary gain of distribution. The Mafia found ways to intercept ships carrying opium that created for them a new lucrative revenue stream. Other countries continued to find was to get illegal drugs across borders and onto American soil.
Not all American heroin addiction began in the United States. Many of the forces deployed to Vietnam became dependent on heroin and the number addicted to heroin reached 3/4 of a million. This rapid addiction increase of the 60’s continued into the 70’s and 80’s with Colombian Cartels now bringing cocaine over in massive amounts.
By 1990, many of the previous Colombian drug trafficking issues had been resolved with convictions and deaths of group leaders which in turn found the rise of Cali Cartel as they continued transporting, now from south Columbia.
From 1990 through the early 2000’s, the border of Mexico and the United States was a main throughput from cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana. It was reported that nearly two hundred tons of cocaine was transferred to the US during this time.
Until 2010, a violent force of ex-military (Los Zetas) and cartel (Gulf) had formed to create a deadly distribution ring that resonated into 2015 and claiming 75k+ lives during that time.
Where Are We Now?
This brings us to our current state where Americans have easy access to dangerous drugs such as; oxycodone, crack, metch, cocaine and now Fentanyl has been added to this list.
This is all due to the trafficking of these drugs from other countries, which may never stop. This bill, the S. 1044: Fentanyl Sanctions Act is to make countries more aware and at the same time, more accountable to their part in this deadly process of drugs coming into the United States.
How You Can Advocate For S. 1044: Fentanyl Sanctions Act
Sign a petition through the Addiction Policy Forum that will contact your local Representative to vote “Yes” to amend the National Defense Authorization Act with the Fentanyl Sanctions Act for the year 2020.