(Trends Wide) — Joe Biden’s government identified multiple Latin American countries among the main nations of transit or producers of illicit drugs and affirmed that Venezuela and Bolivia did not comply with their obligations to fight against drug trafficking. He also announced that he will seek to “expand cooperation with key partners such as Mexico and Colombia.”
In a memorandum published on Wednesday, President Joe Biden identified the following countries as the main transit nations or producers of illicit drugs: Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Myanmar, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
“The presence of a country on the above list is not a reflection of its government’s anti-drug efforts or the level of cooperation with the United States,” wrote Biden, who did specifically point to Bolivia and Venezuela “for having demonstrably failed in make substantial efforts during the previous 12 months (…) to adhere to its obligations under international agreements against drug trafficking. “
“The United States is committed to working together with the countries of the Western Hemisphere as neighbors and partners to address our shared challenges of drug trafficking and use. My administration will seek to expand cooperation with key partners, such as Mexico and Colombia, to shape the a collective and comprehensive response and expand efforts to address the production and trafficking of dangerous synthetic drugs that are responsible for many of our overdose deaths, particularly fentanyl, fentanyl analogs and methamphetamine, “the memorandum states.
Biden indicated that his administration will continue to work with Mexico to intensify efforts to dismantle transnational criminal organizations and their networks, as well as to increase prosecutions of criminal leaders and facilitators.
“In Bolivia, I encourage the Government to take additional measures to safeguard the country’s legal coca markets from criminal exploitation and reduce the illicit cultivation of coca that continues to exceed the legal limits of Bolivia’s national laws for medicinal and traditional uses,” the statement reads.
“In addition, the United States will seek to expand cooperation with China, India and other countries that are the source of the chemical resource to disrupt the global flow of synthetic drugs and their chemical precursors,” he added.
Overdose deaths in America
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths increased by about 30% in the United States in 2020, reaching the highest number ever recorded.
“Deaths from overdoses of synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Deaths from cocaine also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semisynthetic opioids (such as prescription painkillers ), “the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said in a statement.
Biden has indicated that the overdose epidemic and current drug addiction in the US is one of the top public health priorities of his administration, making it necessary to make national investments and improve cooperation with foreign partners to attack to drug suppliers and criminal organizations that profit from them.
The 2021 American Rescue Plan will allocate approximately $ 4 billion to support behavioral health and substance use disorder programs.