Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Biden hails fentanyl progress with China and Mexico but says verification needed

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting on combating fentanyl, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Washington.
Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting on combating fentanyl, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023, in Washington.

The president wants lawmakers to provide more funds to aid efforts to block fentanyl manufacturing and trafficking. He also says that a deal with China will require monitoring to have an impact.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday hailed progress to slow the flow of fentanyl into the United States made a week earlier during discussions with the presidents of China and Mexico.

During a meeting with his national and homeland security leadership, Biden said China has already taken steps to shut down companies trafficking the drug.

However, Biden said, "We’re not just going to trust that this is happening — we have to verify it. And that’s going to save lives."

Biden called on Congress to tighten laws to help block fentanyl trafficking and pass his supplemental budget request that includes more funding at the U.S. southern border.

He underscored the importance that Congress reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before it expires at the end of next month. The statute authorizes the intelligence community, under court supervision, to target communications of non-Americans overseas.

Biden said fentanyl is "the No. 1 killer of Americans aged 18 to 45. And it's an issue that's hurting families in every state across the nation. And curbing this crisis is something that every American can get behind, Democrat and Republican.”

Biden was briefed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram.

“I called this meeting to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep building on the momentum of last week,” Biden said. “How can we accelerate our efforts, make sure that we are delivering real results for the people who are being hurt so badly?”

Mexico and China are the primary sources for fentanyl trafficked into the U.S. Nearly all the chemicals to make it come from China, and the drugs are produced in Mexico by cartels, which smuggle it into U.S.

Biden said his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit last week resulted in new international efforts to address the flow of the deadly opioid.

Biden said he, Xi and Obrador committed to expanding law enforcement cooperation and intelligence sharing "to better disrupt the flow of fentanyl and dismantle the violent criminal groups that traffic synthetic drugs in our communities.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.