Skepticism surrounds Biden's new plan to combat drug overdoses

November 22, 2023

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows there were 106,699 drug deaths in 2021, representing a fivefold increase over the past two decades.

While President Joe Biden has unveiled a plan to address America's drug problem, even the left-wing BBC has expressed skepticism over whether it will work. 

Biden says drug crisis "requires global action"

According to the BBC, Biden announced on Tuesday that his administration will approach "every angle" of the drug epidemic, something he dubbed an "American tragedy."

"Deaths from fentanyl are an American tragedy that requires global action," the president said in a post on the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

"I'm committed to doing everything I can to control this crisis – from expanding prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery, to working with Chinese, Mexican, and Canadian partners to tackle this," Biden added.

Report finds that China is the "primary" source of fentanyl ingredients

The BBC also quoted the president as saying at White House meeting on Tuesday, "Curbing this crisis is something every American can get behind. It's tough stuff. People are dying."

Biden went on to call for expanded access to treatment along with "strong international co-operation" as he spoke alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Further, the president also said that he reached an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week to limit the export of precursor materials used in the manufacture of fentanyl.

A report put out last year by the United States Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioids found that China remains the "primary" source of ingredients for producing fentanyl, a flow which is "unabated."

Former trade official not sure China sees issue as "a sufficient priority"

The BBC spoke with Thomas Bollyky, a former American trade official who has long been involved with U.S.-Chinese negotiations.

He expressed the view that China's government is "capable" of stopping the outflow of chemicals used by Mexican drug cartels to make fentanyl.

However, Bollyky remains unconvinced that China regards confronting American drug deaths as being "a sufficient priority."

"Whether that's the case really has to do with broader geopolitical dynamics. China has been clear that China itself does not have a fentanyl problem. They see these issues as part of the broader strategic dialogue with the US," he explained.

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