(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden is taking on the fentanyl crisis as more than 30 states reported an increase in fentanyl-related deaths in the past year.
The U.S. is making progress in stemming the flow of fentanyl after Biden’s closed-door meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador last week, according to President Biden.
He says China is already taking steps to shut down companies dealing in the illicit trade of the chemicals used to produce fentanyl, which flows into drug labs in Mexico before being trafficked into the U.S.
Biden also says he has made progress with Obrador to better disrupt the flow of fentanyl and dismantle violent criminal groups trafficking synthetic drugs into the U.S.
In 2022, fentanyl overdoses accounted for nearly 70% of drug overdose deaths, with states like Washington, Oregon and Nevada seeing the largest increases in drug overdose deaths in the past year.
Now, more than 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids, with the rate of fentanyl-related deaths tripling between 2016 and 2021.
“Families all across the country gather this week with their loved ones for Thanksgiving. Too many of you will face looking at an empty chair for the first time for Thanksgiving. So many people have died. It’s heartbreaking. It really is an American tragedy,” Biden said this week.
The president is urging Congress to step in and pass his supplemental budget requests which he says includes significant resources to help stop the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.
He is also urging Congress to make fentanyl a Schedule 1 drug, which would limit the distribution of pill presses and close existing loopholes.