Criminal organizations behind the international drug trade market are highly adaptable, and they use the tools of 21st century commerce, but the Biden-Harris administration is committed to deterring and disrupting production and trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in prepared remarks that were presented Wednesday evening at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit.
“Disrupting the flow of opioids, especially synthetic opioids like fentanyl, is an urgent national priority,” said Blinken, the first secretary of state to address the Rx Summit. “It requires intensive diplomacy and global cooperation.”
The State Department is attacking the issue on multiple fronts, and is leveraging international institutions to mobilize a global response, Blinken said. Next week at the annual United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting, the U.S. will advocate for a renewed focus on synthetic opioids and for better information sharing between nations on drug trafficking trends.
“We will also vote to put international controls on synthetic opioids and push for those controls to happen fast, which will make it harder for criminal organizations to operate,” Blinken said.
The State Deparmtent is also pressing China to address the production and sale of precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs, collaborating with Mexico to cut down on trafficking across the U.S.’s southern border, and coordinating with the Treasury Department to apply financial sanctions and other deterrence tools in a crackdown on transnational criminal organizations, Blinken said. The State Department’s efforts also include collaboration with the private sector that center around the sharing of information about suspicious orders and transactions and “by adopting crime-sensitive business practices to prevent the exploitation of their goods and services.”
“Our nation’s security, prosperity, safety, competitiveness, and our children’s future well-being all are at stake,” Blinken said. “The State Department is in this fight with you for as long as it takes.”