The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking released a 70-page report this week calling for Cabinet-level government leadership to counter the opioid and overdose epidemic.
The bipartisan panel, commissioned by Congress, warned that the stakes are much higher now with the widespread availability of fentanyl, a potent synthetic painkiller that is often mixed with other substances like heroin.
In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 100,300 Americans died of drug overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021.
What should be done? The commission proposed a five-pillar strategy to use a mix of law enforcement and diplomacy to shut down the global sources of the chemicals used to make fentanyl.
The report calls for more organized leadership and new tools to help spot the latest trends in illicit drug use before they morph into major problems for society. Federal law enforcement authorities believe the chemical materials for fentanyl are mostly produced in China, but Mexican cartels control shipment, sometimes even using the U.S. Postal Service.
Dig deeper: Listen to a Gainesville radio host talk about his battle with an opioid addiction.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2022, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.