On June 11, 2019, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivered remarks to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control in Washington, D.C.
In his remarks, the Secretary emphasized his personal commitment to the opioid crisis and underscored the important role of government agencies in addressing it. "The State Department has a role here. Many U.S. Government agencies do. Most of the opioids sold in the United States are manufactured and trafficked into this country from abroad. That’s where our talents and skills and the team comes to bear. We have a clear role here," the Secretary said.
Secretary Pompeo made clear that addressing the opioid crisis is a priority issue for the State Department and shared examples of actions the United States is taking to address drug trafficking. For example, Secretary Pompeo underscored that the Trump Administration is both focused on and working closely with China to address an increase in fentanyl, which is often purchased online and shipped abroad. The Secretary noted that on May 1, 2019, China fulfilled its pledge to President Trump to control all fentanyl-like substances and develop an enforcement plan for each of them. Secretary Pompeo underscored the need for the United States to continue to work closely with China to follow-up on these encouraging signs, adding, "There should be new criminal penalties. I’m convinced that they will do that. And I’m convinced that this will shut down labs inside of China and will save lives here in the United States."
Secretary Pompeo discussed drug production and trafficking in Latin America, including efforts to address drug production and trafficking in Mexico, Colombia, and in other nations. Mexico, the Secretary noted, remains a production hub for methamphetamines and heroin and is a transit country for cocaine, fentanyl, and other drugs. Secretary Pompeo shared that just last week, as part of the United States and Mexico's conversations about migration, our countries touched on ways we can work more closely together on these issues. The Secretary stated, "We will try and take down these criminal enterprises between all of the elements of the U.S. Government. We’ve donated equipment to the Mexican law enforcement, security forces; we’ve trained their officers to eradicate poppy and interdict drugs; we’ve provided them sniffing dogs."
Secretary Pompeo noted that a number of positive strides have been made in other nations in the Western Hemishpere, but challenges remain. In closing, the Secretary reiterated that the State Department is committed to doing its part to prevent these drugs from ruining more lives.
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