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China, Mexico take heart stage in Senate listening to on spike in fentanyl deaths

China and Mexico took heart stage Tuesday as Senators convened to debate the lethal fentanyl disaster as deaths proceed to spike, sparking partisan variations over border safety.

Senators on the appropriate and left from the Well being, Training, Labor, and Pensions Committee highlighted the rise in fentanyl overdoses in every of their states, pointing to the biggest improve in U.S. overdoses from the lethal drug in half a century. 

“In 2021 we noticed the biggest annual improve in opioid deaths in 50 years, and the 35 years between 1979 and 2016 600,000 Individuals died as a consequence of overdose and 100,000 died final 12 months,” Louisiana Republican Sen. Invoice Cassidy mentioned. 


Democratic Sen. Patty Murry of Washington identified that “as a result of fentanyl is as much as 50 occasions stronger than heroin and 100 occasions stronger than morphine, two milligrams generally is a deadly dose.”

“From April 2020 to 2021, artificial opioids – principally illicit fentanyl – had been answerable for almost two thirds of all overdose deaths,” she added. 

Nonetheless, whereas senators on either side of the aisle agreed that the fentanyl disaster must be stopped, the partisan debate over border safety as soon as once more offered itself. 

“We have now to acknowledge {that a} coverage on the border which has been feckless and ineffective as this administration has had, not simply permits folks to return right here who’re unlawful. It permits medication to return throughout as properly,” Cassidy mentioned in his opening assertion. “We have to manage that border.”

Sen. Chris Murphy pushed again on GOP arguments that unlawful medication had been crossing the borders via the identical strategies as migrants and pointed to testimony given by Senior Coverage Advisor to the Director of Nationwide Drug Management Coverage, Kemp Chester.


“The preponderance of the medication do come to the prevailing ports of entry,” Chester defined, including that initiatives to bolster screening processes via the ports of entry would assist crackdown on illicit drug transfers.

“A number of our colleagues assume that by placing up this wall on the border, you are going to cease fentanyl from coming into the nation. The fact is that fentanyl is coming in via the ports,” Murphy mentioned. “So we are able to make investments however the concept that it is the unwalled parts of the border the place the fentanyl is pouring in is simply not what the information bear out.”

GOP Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas negated this argument and mentioned, “It goes with out saying with an open porous southern border the availability is ample driving the road worth down.”

He then turned the dialogue to China’s position in failing to catch underground labs working in China after which smuggling medication laced with fentanyl into Mexico and even into the U.S. underneath what Cassidy mentioned had been “evident loopholes in our customs system.” 

“Cartels will ship Chinese language-made fentanyl into our nation by mail, claiming the contents of the bundle is price lower than $800 which is the edge for paying tariffs,” Cassidy mentioned. “As a result of if it is declared as lower than $800, Customs and Border Safety doesn’t examine the bundle, and it passes via.”

Some lawmakers expressed exasperation over China’s infamously overbearing authorities which has been apparently unable to successfully cease the stream of lethal medication out of its nation.

Chester instructed Cassidy that the U.S. is working with the Individuals’s Republic of China to crack down on these underground labs, however acknowledged there was “uneven progress.”

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