The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday rolled out what it is calling a comprehensive guide to combatting illicit opioids from coming into the country.
The report, titled "Strategy for Combatting Illicit Opioids," outlines four goals the Department hopes will stop opioids from coming into the country.
“Our nation continues to face an unprecedented epidemic of deaths from illicit synthetic opioids -- our citizens are dying every year at an unimaginable rate,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Executive Associate Director Katrina W. Berger in a press release. “This is a bold and innovative strategy to stem the flow of dangerous narcotics and directly addresses the public health emergency this opioid crisis has become.
HSI is the primary investigative arm of the Department.
Primary elements of the strategy include: Reducing the international supply of illicit opioids, reducing the supply of opioids in the United States, attacking the enablers of the drug trafficking organizations and working with the private sector to better stop drugs from getting into the United States.
HSI hopes to specifically work with international partners to curb drugs being brought into the United States, according to the report. Due to HSI's robust international presence, they can do that.
Domestically, they will increase the number of HSI task forces designed to target drug traffickers.
"In Fiscal Year 2022, HSI narcotics enforcement efforts resulted in 11,612 arrests as well as the seizure of 28,689 lbs. of opioids – including 20,981 lbs. of fentanyl – and over $210 million in illicit proceeds," the report reads.
DHS says they will also target the cash that Mexican cartels use to fund the drug smuggling operations. They will also use cyber forensics to better target drug traffickers who cross the border and have a presence online.
All told, DHS says this strategy will help reduce drugs along the border and in the United States.
“For more than five years now, fentanyl has been causing so much loss of life and destruction in our communities,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “We in the Department of Homeland Security, along with our federal, state, and local partners, are committed to combatting this scourge and protecting American communities from it. The new HSI Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids that we are announcing today will help further align our intelligence and field operations to keep fentanyl off the streets and bring ruthless cartels and criminal organizations to justice.”