Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) has accused China of intentionally poisoning Americans by flooding the United States with fentanyl. Ernst currently serves as chair of the Republican Policy Committee.
She believes that the Chinese government is allowing the sale of precursor chemicals to Mexico, where the Mexican cartels are producing the fentanyl and distributing it throughout America. The cartels are obtaining the chemicals primarily through open market purchases, smuggling chemicals in legitimate commercial shipments, and mislabeling shipments to avoid law enforcement.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said during an interview Friday that communist China is conducting warfare against the United States by intentionally flooding the U.S. with fentanyl.
— 🇺🇸 Rich Howard 🇺🇸 (@WylieGuide) February 11, 2023
Ernst added she has found that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is aware of this and is doing nothing to stop it or is actively promoting it.
The opioid epidemic in the United States started in the late 1990s with the overprescription of prescription narcotics and has since mushroomed into high overdose rates following the introduction of fentanyl to the illicit drug market. Fentanyl is now responsible for the most drug deaths in the country and is commonly found mixed with cocaine, heroin, and fake prescription drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Adderall.
In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 106,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, a 15% increase from the previous year. In addition, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) most recent National Drug Threat Assessment has said that Mexican drug cartels will have the most significant direct impact on the fentanyl market in America due to their increased capacity and capability for fentanyl production, adaptation to restrictions on precursor chemicals, and existing drug trafficking infrastructure in the U.S.
Ernst advocates harsher penalties for those who supply the drug and has demanded Congress allocate more resources to support Border Patrol agents. In addition, the DEA has called on the Chinese government to crack down on the supply chain networks, with U.S. officials saying that China is the largest supplier of precursor chemicals to Mexico.
In 2022, the DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every American, including over 50 million fentanyl-laced pills and over 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. Most of the fentanyl is being smuggled into the U.S. along its southern border, with smaller amounts being smuggled via air from China.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., called Ernst’s characterization wrong and added that the United States “must face up to its own problems instead of shifting the blame.”