Fentanyl Is the Leading Cause of Death for Young Americans. China Is Shipping It Here | Opinion

The fentanyl crisis is worsening. Last year, more than 71,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses, a 22 percent increase from 2020. Communities are being ravaged.

There's one country to thank for the dead Americans piling up from drug overdoses: China.

China is a leading cause of American deaths for younger adults. While heart disease and cancer claim many older lives, CDC data reveals that the leading cause of death for ages 25-44 is unintentional injuries, the vast majority of which are drug-related poisonings. Drug poisonings are the leading cause of death for these age groups, far exceeding homicide, suicide, and traffic accidents.

Worse, the toll from opioid overdoses could dramatically rise this decade, to over 1 million deaths per year, according to a study published in The Lancet.

And we know where it's coming from. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, China is "the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States." Senders in China often mail the drug directly to the United States, where it is mixed and sold with heroin. The Chinese also send fentanyl to Mexico, where it is trafficked across the border by cartels.

China has significant ties to Mexican drug cartels. Chinese actors not only provide fentanyl and related substances to the cartels; they also launder money for the cartels.

The Biden Administration's utter failure to secure our southern border contributes greatly to American fentanyl deaths. When people can pour across the border by the millions, drugs can pour across, too, though it's not the only way. Some fentanyl comes across the Canadian border, and some is shipped here directly in the postal system.

So what can be done?

First, understand that this is all happening under the watch of the all-encompassing Chinese communist government. Perhaps China's communist leaders view this as a form of payback for the Opium Wars that occurred nearly 200 years ago, in which the UK forcibly demanded to be able to sell the drug to the Chinese. But it also serves as a way to weaken a contemporary opponent; the Chinese government benefits when young and middle-aged American adults are addicted to and dying from drugs.

fentanyl
Rich and Peg prepare to shoot-up a mix of heroin and fentanyl on a street in Kensington on July 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

These are Americans who are in the prime years of their lives for economic productivity and raising families—and instead are becoming victims of Chinese drug dealing.

If we want this to change, we have to make China pay.

There were more than 300,000 Chinese exchange students in 2019-20 at American universities. Why are we letting Chinese students access our top education programs in science, tech, and engineering, knowledge that they can take back to China, when their government is killing our citizens?

Why are we allowing Chinese-owned companies like TikTok to make money off of Americans, to say nothing of potentially stealing their data?

Why are we allowing Chinese companies access to our financial system?

To get China to stop killing us, we need to play hardball and take away things that China wants or needs.

To be sure, the prospects of that are dim under the current administration. The Biden Administration's border security looks like it is being run by mall cops. Hundreds of thousands of foreigners are storming our southern border every month.

Meanwhile, allies in the liberal media who want to downplay fentanyl because it exposes the failings of the current administration. The Washington Post recently called fentanyl "a useful political cudgel, often after its dangers have been exaggerated." It's hard to imagine how the dangerousness of fentanyl—a mere 2-3 milligrams of which is a fatal dose to adults—can be "exaggerated," but that's the media for you.

China is killing Americans today. Pay attention to who is willing to do something about it—and who isn't.

Will Coggin is executive director of The American Coalition and former managing director of ChinaOwnsUs.com.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.