Joe Biden’s border mess has created myriad crises for the American people, none of which are worse than the fentanyl epidemic that is destroying so many of our fellow citizens.
Data released earlier this month found that 2021 was the deadliest year on record for drug overdoses, with more than 107,000 Americans dying of an overdose that year. The main driver of these tragic numbers is fentanyl, a drug that mostly flows through the southern border at the behest of drug cartels and kingpins. Of the 107,000 deaths from overdoses, over 70,000 involved fentanyl.
"These past three years we have seen an increase of contamination of other illicit drugs with fentanyl, be it cocaine, be methamphetamine, and more recently, illicit prescription drugs,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse said.
Most of these deaths could be better described as poisonings rather than drug overdoses. Many who die of fentanyl overdoses die because they are doing other drugs that happen to be laced with fentanyl. The tiny amount of fentanyl dosage required to kill someone is what makes this drug so dangerous and so lethal.
There are many reasons for America’s decades-long opioid crisis, including recent COVID-19 restrictions that forced many Americans into isolation. However, the main reason for the crisis is our abandoned border, through which most fentanyl flows. Bad actors in China and Mexico are now working together to move fentanyl into the U.S., with Chinese manufacturers and Mexican drug cartels having formed a closer relationship in recent years.
During Biden’s first year in office, Border Patrol reported a staggering 1,066 percent increase in the amount of fentanyl seized at the southern border. The agency seized 588 pounds of fentanyl in 2021, which would be enough to kill the entire U.S. population multiple times over, and that’s just the amount that was unable to escape detection.
One can only imagine the total amount of fentanyl that has come through our border undetected. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has imagined this, and issued a warning last month about a looming nationwide spike in fentanyl overdoses, saying that the drug is killing Americans at an “unprecedented rate.”
”Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl, until it’s too late."
The vast majority of drug overdoses occur among young and middle-aged Americans. Between 2010 and 2016, opioid-related deaths accounted for the loss of over half a million years of life in just the state of Ohio, according to a study from the Journal of Addiction Medicine. Now, we have the DEA telling the American people to expect those numbers to skyrocket. The scourge of fentanyl and other drugs coming from Mexico requires a whole-of-government effort to secure our border. Tragically, the Biden administration continues to take the opposite course.
Despite an injunction that is temporarily halting their efforts, the White House is determined to end the use of Title 42 to expel migrants at the border to prevent the further introduction of COVID-19 into the country, which will cause even more mass chaos at our border. Some estimates have found that as many as 18,000 illegal aliens will begin crossing the southern border every single day once the Title 42 order is lifted, meaning that Americans can anticipate as many as 500,000 illegal alien border crossings every month. This will force agents off the line in order to help manage and process migrants, which will create more openings for cartels to smuggle humans and drugs into the U.S.
Our immigration system is about to be completely overwhelmed, and drug cartels will be prepared to ruthlessly exploit that reality, which will exacerbate the opioid crisis, and lead to further death and despair.
Joe Biden’s border mismanagement is getting Americans killed, and younger and more economically vulnerable Americans are paying the heaviest price. If Biden gets serious about securing the border, he can end this carnage. Tragically, it appears he will continue to act as the fentanyl traffickers’ de facto partner at the border.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.