Fentanyl gripped America – Washington stumbled

Fentanyl and methamphetamine seized near Ensenada, Mexico, arrives at the Mexican attorney general’s Tijuana office…No one arrested.

During the past seven years, as soaring quantities of fentanyl flooded into the United States, strategic blunders and cascading mistakes by successive U.S. administrations allowed the most lethal drug crisis in American history to become significantly worse, a Washington Post investigation has found.

Presidents from both parties failed to take effective action in the face of one of the most urgent threats to the nation’s security, one that claims more lives each year than car accidents, suicides or gun violence. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49…

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the country’s premier anti-narcotics agency, stumbled through a series of missteps as it confronted the biggest challenge in its 50-year history. The agency was slow to respond as Mexican cartels supplanted Chinese producers, creating a massive illicit pharmaceutical industry that is now producing more fentanyl than ever.

The Department of Homeland Security, whose agencies are responsible for detecting illegal drugs at the nation’s borders, failed to ramp up scanning and inspection technology at official crossings, instead channeling $11 billion toward the construction of a border wall that does little to stop fentanyl traffickers…

The DEA said it is now taking direct aim at the Mexican cartels and the fentanyl epidemic. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram acknowledged that the government remained too focused on heroin at the onset of the crisis, as Mexican traffickers ramped up production of synthetic opioids…

Narcotics agents say street-level demand for fentanyl is rising fast because so many new users are getting hooked. More than 9 million Americans “misused opioids” in 2020, according to the latest estimates by the Department of Health and Human Services. But the agency has not tracked the rise of fentanyl and does not know how many Americans are using it.

I think Biden’s campaign for re-election will likely focus on the need to convert from pencils to hand calculators. Republicans will offer someone who says, “Pencils were good enough for my grandpappy!”

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