Mexico and China are primary foreign sources of illicit fentanyl and its chemical building blocks

Washington (March 16, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), members of the Foreign Relations Committee, today praised passage of their Senate resolution calling for international cooperation to address the trafficking of illicit fentanyl into the United States. Illicit fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased by 72.2 percent from 2014-2015, resulting in more than 9,500 deaths in 2015. Massachusetts ranks 2nd, per capita, in synthetic opioid deaths, which include fentanyl, with the number of deaths between 2014 and 2015 increasing by 109 percent. Other senators co-sponsoring the resolution include Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Angus King (I-Maine.).

“Fentanyl is trending as the deadliest illicit opioid drug our country is facing,” said Senator Markey. “Left unchecked, fentanyl is causing a nationwide public-health crisis of epic proportions. We must make stopping the trafficking of fentanyl into the United States from Mexico and China one of our highest foreign policy priorities. And both China and Mexico must meet their promises to combat the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids into the United States. We must use the broad diplomatic and law enforcement resources of the United States, in partnership with our international partners, to help stop fentanyl’s deadly impact.”


“We know lethal synthetic drugs such as fentanyl are being brought in from outside the United States, and they are increasingly contributing to the devastating opioid abuse epidemic we are facing in Florida,” said Senator Rubio. “In order to fully address the root causes of this epidemic destroying so many American families, our international partners must do their part to crack down on the trafficking of these deadly drugs.”


A copy of the Senate resolution can be found HERE.