The United States is working with countries around the world to stem the flow of illicit opioids — dangerous addictive drugs that include heroin and synthetic substances such as fentanyl.
The United Nations estimates that as many as 35 million people around the world abused opioids in a recent year. “Working together, we will defeat this opioid epidemic,” President Trump said at an October 26, 2017, event where he declared the epidemic a national health emergency.
Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have made their way into American cities. Fentanyl and its chemical precursors cross borders — legally or illegally — and destroy lives.
U.S. agencies are working to make sure this doesn’t continue. President Trump has taken these actions:
- Ordered law enforcement agencies to block international trafficking of synthetic fentanyl.
- Emphasized the continued commitment to secure borders to stop the flow of drugs into the United States.
- Reaffirmed U.S. support for drug prevention, treatment and recovery programs in more than 60 countries.
The State Department also has secured a binding United Nations agreement making it harder for criminals to access fentanyl precursors.
“We will win,” President Trump said at an August 2017 briefing on the crisis. “We have no alternative. We have to win for our youth. We have to win for our young people.”
On Thursday, March 1, State Department Deputy Secretary John Sullivan will participate in a White House summit to discuss the opioid crisis. He is expected to outline support for Mexican authorities’ efforts to more aggressively eradicate poppy crops, build law enforcement capacity, enhance border security, and bring transnational criminal organizations and drug traffickers to justice.
He will also discuss U.S.-Chinese cooperation that has helped China to establish domestic restrictions on the production and distribution of 143 substances, including a number of fentanyl-related compounds.
A version of this article was previously published on November 17, 2017.