Kansas AG calls on Secretary of State to increase fight against deadly fentanyl
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Attorney General has called on the Secretary of State to increase his fight against deadly fentanyl.
On Thursday, Jan. 13, Schmidt said he joined a letter sent with 15 other attorneys general to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken which outlines concerns about the production and distribution of fentanyl. They asked Blinken and the department to step up efforts to curb China’s production and exportation of fentanyl precursors and Mexico’s failure to prevent the drug’s manufacture and shipment into the U.S.
“Chinese chemical manufacturers are now making and sending the raw ingredients to make fentanyl to Mexican drug cartels, which are in turn making and trafficking fentanyl at an industrial scale,” the attorneys general wrote. “But in the face of this evolving and significant problem, the federal government has seemed content to stand by. We, therefore, write to insist on a fulsome and urgent response to this escalating plague killing our people every day.”
Schmidt said the Sunflower State has a strong interest in stopping the flow of the deadly drug into the state, where overdoses have skyrocketed.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported in January that preliminary data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System shows 338 fatal drug overdoses between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021, a 54% increase from the same period in 2020.
Of those Kansas deaths, Schmidt said 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogs.
Historically, Schmidt said fentanyl was made in China and shipped directly to the U.S. After pressure from the federal government, he said China started to take action against illicit fentanyl manufacturing in its borders in 2019. However, he said Chinese labs started to divert precursor chemicals for fentanyl manufacturing to other countries, including Mexico.
According to the Kansas AG, fentanyl has been smuggled into the U.S. at alarming rates. Today, he said most fentanyl available has been trafficked from Mexico across the U.S. Southwest border. Seizures of fentanyl at the border increased from about 1,200 kilograms in 2019 to about 3,000 kilograms in 2020.
According to the U.S Department of State, seizures of fentanyl directly shipped from China to the U.S. shrunk dramatically from over 128 kilograms seized in 2017 to less than half a kilogram in 2020.
To read the full letter, click HERE.
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