Fentanyl Alert: International Cooperation To Fight Drugs
US and China Join Forces in War Against Synthetic Opioid
In recent years, Fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid, has become a major public health threat globally. Recently, during the San Francisco summit, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping put this crisis at the top of the agenda, with China pledging to cooperate to combat illicit trafficking of this lethal drug.
Fentanyl: A Growing Threat
Fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, making it not only dangerous for those who use it but also difficult for authorities to manage. In the United States, Fentanyl is responsible for more than 66 percent of overdose deaths, with more than 110 thousand deaths recorded in 2022 alone. This figure surpasses the total number of American casualties during the Vietnam War, highlighting the magnitude of the crisis.
International Collaboration: the U.S. and China
China’s commitment at the San Francisco summit represents a key step. Beijing promised to combat illegal exports of Fentanyl and its precursor chemicals, of which it is the world’s largest producer. The establishment of a joint working group is a positive sign of international cooperation in a fight that transcends national borders.
Impact in Europe and Global Alert
Although Europe has seen less impact than the U.S., the increase in Fentanyl seizures by European law enforcement agencies is a troubling sign. Countries such as Latvia have seized enough quantities of Fentanyl to cause millions of deaths, indicating a growing prevalence in the Old Continent as well.
Fentanyl: A Deadly Drug
Fentanyl is used as both an analgesic and anesthetic, but its abuse is devastating. Side effects include euphoria, sedation, nausea, dizziness, and in cases of overdose, coma and respiratory failure that can lead to death. Its ease of transportation and potency make it a particularly dangerous and attractive substance for drug cartels.
The Cartels’ New “White Gold”
Criminal organizations such as the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels have found Fentanyl to be a huge new source of profit. Low-cost production and high market value make Fentanyl an attractive option for drug traffickers, intensifying the crisis.
The fight against Fentanyl requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach. U.S.-China cooperation is an important step, but even broader efforts are needed to address this crisis. Each nation must recognize the seriousness of the threat and work together to develop effective strategies to combat Fentanyl, thereby protecting millions of lives around the world.