As the U.S. opioid crisis spirals further out of control, and threatens to engulf Europe, the U.S. government has been scrambling in recent weeks for solutions. Some are sensible, if misguided, such as the Biden administration’s “fentanyl strike force” within the Treasury Department to aggressively scrutinize the finances of suspected narcotics dealers. Others, such as proposals from prominent GOP figures to bomb Mexico are plain outlandish.
Unfortunately, the only realistic solution is currently languishing in the limbo of the House of Representatives, its future uncertain. The Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl bill, blocked since December, proposes what Biden’s Mexico-targeted financial strike force and the GOP’s more bellicose propositions do not: sanctions targeting not only the illicit drug trade but crucially the money laundering that makes it possible. In other words, it targets not just Mexico, home of the cartels that are producing and selling the fentanyl, but also where the cartels are hiding, laundering and ultimately reinvesting their ill-gotten gains.
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