According to the latest report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, nearly 35 million people around the world have drug use disorders. The numbers for 2017 increased as a result of improved knowledge of drug use from surveys conducted in Nigeria and India. These are both among the top 10 most populous countries in the world. The same report also indicates that 53 million people use opioid drugs, which is up 56 percent from initial estimates.
Opioids are now responsible for nearly two-thirds of the 585,000 people who died in 2017 from drug use. The same report highlights how 271 million people, or 5.5 percent of the global population, have tried drugs, and drug use has jumped 30 percent higher than it was in 2009. The manufacturing of cocaine also reached an all-time high of 1,976 tons in 2017, which marks an increase of 25 percent from the previous year.
The synthetic opioid crisis in the United States reached new heights in 2017. Unfortunately, the numbers show there were more than 47,000 opioid overdose deaths in the nation alone, which increased 13 percent from the year before. With the effort put into slowing the opioid crisis and more stringent regulations on prescriptions, the numbers only have increased.
What do all these statistics have in common? They all involve drugs that drug traffickers pushed into the country, but is that the only reason?
Who's to Blame for the Drug Crisis?
In the United States, Mexican transnational criminal organizations, which include the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel, remain the most significant criminal drug threat in our country.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the cartels are the principal wholesale drug sources for domestic gangs responsible for street-level distribution.
Neighborhood-based and national street gangs and prison gangs also dominate the market for the street sales and distribution of drugs in their territories throughout the country. Drug trafficking in 2019 remains the primary source of income for gangs.
In 2017, synthetic opioids were involved in 30,000 deaths, but from 2016 to 2017, Mexican black tar heroin grew in production by 37 percent. Today, Mexican cartels continue to produce large quantities of methamphetamine south of the border and then deliver it to the United States.
Seizures at the borders have increased from 8,900 pounds in 2010 to a staggering 82,000 pounds in 2018.
While it is easy to place blame solely on the drug cartels, we must keep in mind that they get the ingredients to produce methamphetamine and fentanyl.
China plays a key role in providing critical components in the production of these drugs. In fact, it has gotten so bad that President Trump called China out and told UPS, FedEx, and Amazon to refuse deliveries from the country for its role in the fentanyl crisis.
As the drug crisis continues to rage on, we must shift blame where it belongs. China and Mexican cartels are causing havoc worldwide, and it’s yet to be seen what can be done.