U.S. Department of State Report: ‘Opioid Epidemic Demands Urgent Action’

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics released it’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on Thursday, outlining that the opioid epidemic in America “demands urgent action.”

“The most urgent drug-related public health crisis within the United States remains the ongoing opioid epidemic,” the report outlined. “This long-developing epidemic, spurred originally by misuse of prescription opioids within the United States, is now increasingly fueled by heroin and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, trafficked into the United States by transnational criminal networks.”

“Public health officials have called the current opioid epidemic the worst drug crisis in U.S. history, costing the lives of more than 33,000 people in 2015. In 2015, for the first time, deaths from heroin alone surpassed gun homicides,” it noted.

William Brownfield, the assistant secretary of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told reporters during a conference call to discuss the report that most of the heroin entering the states originates from Mexico.

“My estimate is that between 90 and 94 percent of all heroin consumed in the United States comes from Mexico,” he explained. “My estimate is that a very tiny percentage now, perhaps as little as 2 percent to 4 percent, comes from Colombia. And the remainder, which might be somewhere in the 4 to 6 percent category, comes from Asia, the majority of that coming from Afghanistan.”

The majority of fentanyl comes from China and then into Mexico, Brownfield said, where it is then trafficked into the states.

“And it then becomes an exceptionally dangerous product in the United States, because fentanyl is 10-50 times as potent as heroin, and when the user does not realize that he or she is consuming fentanyl and not consuming heroin, the likelihood of overdose and death is extremely increased,” he explained.

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Brownfield advised that both Mexico and China have been willing to cooperate with American efforts to fight drug trafficking.

“Law enforcement cooperation with Mexico includes programs to strengthen Mexico’s capacity to identify, investigate, interdict and dismantle clandestine drug laboratories and disrupt trafficking networks,” the report likewise expounded. “In a welcome development in late 2015, China placed controls on 116 substances including a dangerous analog to fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl.”

However, “[m]uch work remains to be done in this area,” the Bureau admitted, “and developing compatible, consistent, enforceable international standards is crucial to successfully controlling this growing drug threat.”

The report additionally noted that while tackling heroin and fentanyl use remains a priority, cocaine is an increasing concern as cocaine-related deaths are the highest in nearly a decade.

“Coca cultivation in Colombia increased by 39 percent in 2014 and again by 42 percent in 2015 to 159,000 hectares, nearing record highs, and this surge in production may be having effects within the United States,” it outlined. “According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there was an increase in cocaine seizures nationwide between
2014 and 2015, and the number of overdose deaths within the United States involving cocaine in 2015 was the highest since 2007.”

As previously reported, just last month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that drug overdose deaths have nearly tripled over a period of almost two decades, as an estimated 16 out of every 100,000 Americans lost their lives from an overdose in 2015, compared to 6 in 1999.


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  • Emmanuel

    Build the wall, build the fences, plug up all the tunnels and spend billions are border protection, that will not stop the addiction. The Americans want their drugs and the demand is too large to stop it. We are part of the problem.

  • Croquet_Player

    Well, and I’m very happy to say it, this is something the “Christian News” editors and I can entirely agree upon. There is a ghastly epidemic of “opioid” drugs in this country. And I was stunned to learn that while it’s everywhere, it’s alarming prevalent in “red state” rural areas. People are dying as a result. (To say nothing of families being torn apart, children abandoned, the entire thing is horrifying.) How to address it? This new administration cuts funding for drug treatment and health care. So, if you’re a nice middle aged lady with a hip problem, which, as so often happens, you find yourself addicted to painkillers because you can’t afford surgery yet, because you’re unemployed, and you get some pills from a friend, suddenly you’re a drug trafficker, and you go to prison. Is this right?

    I have been prescribed opioids myself. Four years ago, I had a major root canal surgery the day before I left for Australia. My surgeon said well, here’s a few pills let me know how it goes, then I explained I was leaving the country for a month, so he gave me an entire two weeks of pills! Let’s be clear, I really needed them for the first three days, and I was very happy to have them. I was in bad shape. But I started to try some Ibuprophen after a few days, and that seemed to be doing the job with pain management, so I flushed the rest of the pills down the toilet. Because I have heard too many horror stories, I have seen what drugs do to people’s lives, and I wanted no part of it. But not everyone would do that, and why was I given so many pills? We need new and sensible drug policy. The “War on Drugs” is a disaster.

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      Ask Jesus for help. He will help you in everything. He is your God.

      • Croquet_Player

        Did you even read my remarks?

        • Grace Kim Kwon

          Yes, I did. You guys are not that bad if you are not so Anti-Christian. Westerners should not be Anti-Christian at all. You received so much for 2,000 years. It’s ridiculous-evil to hate the Supreme Good on Planet Earth after receiving such everything excellent for 2,000 years. Life is unfair and fair.

          • Croquet_Player

            I am not anti-Christian. I really don’t know what you’re talking about, you haven’t addressed my remarks, which refer to the opioid epidemic.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Trust in Jesus. Jesus helps you. Those who know Jesus do not need those substances.

          • Croquet_Player

            I don’t attack anyone. I point out hypocritical behavior, or errors of fact, and I’m happy to do so to anyone, anywhere. This is a website open for public comment, by anyone. If I knew of anyone who was using drugs, I would tell them to seek medical care.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You did, insulting the Christians for being Christians here. Drug-addicts as well as you need Jesus for salvation. There is no hope when you knowingly reject Jesus.

          • Croquet_Player

            I have never insulted Christians for being Christians, here or anywhere else. Nor am I a drug addict, so congratulations for stating two lies about me in one post.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Okay. Whether you are sober or not, you need to trust in Jesus to get saved. Medical cure alone is the ultimate answer. If USA ceases to be Anti-christian, much addiction will be ceased, too.

          • Croquet_Player

            You need to stop telling lies.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Those are true. Secular nations need something noble and truly valuable to live for, instead of greed and pleasures, because man was made in the image of God. Liberalism only increased mental disorder among the people by denying the basic truth about God and about humanity. Humans are not animals to live for pleasures, but God’s unique creation to live for His glory. Trust in Saviour Jesus for remission of your sin and get saved. Read Acts 1.

          • Croquet_Player

            When you’re interested in having an actual discussion, instead of making baseless pronouncements, do please let us all know.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            C-P, man is a spiritual being. He needs salvation and the Divine healing. Take care of the root first.

          • Croquet_Player

            No discussion, just pronouncements.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Did you tell me that you liked horses before? Did you read the Holy Bible?

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Americans will be the happiest people on earth if they become Christian. Those who know Christ do not need drugs or other substance for fulfillment and joy. Jesus Christ gives the supreme joy and peace constantly. ( John chapters 13-17)

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” ( John chapter 15)