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Abbott launches ‘One Pill Kills’ campaign in Texas, the rest of the nation should follow suit

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Gov. Greg Abbott launched the “One Pill Kills” campaign in Texas this week, in response to the growing number of deaths attributed to the counterfeit fentanyl pills pouring into the United States across the southern border. It is a growing crisis that is causing alarm throughout the nation, due to growing numbers of unsuspecting people that have been killed by the counterfeit pills, which have the appearance of medical grade pharmaceuticals.

The Texas governor held a roundtable discussion Monday with state and local law enforcement officials. He outlined what the state has done to target the cartels distributing Fentanyl and noted at the discussion that Fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat in Texas and across the nation. He said it is killing four Texans every day.

“Across the nation Fentanyl is the number one cause of death in Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. From February 2021 to February 2022, more than 75,000 Americans died as a result of fentanyl-related overdoses. In the past year, Texas law enforcement alone has seized over 342 million lethal doses of fentanyl—enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the United States,”  Abbott’s press release stated.

These facts alone are terrifying. I believe it is essential that every state adopt the ‘One Pill Kills’ campaign. The DEA is also leading the way by implementing a national program earlier this year because in reality we are playing catch up against our enemies. We can’t afford not to do it and every child, man and woman in America needs to understand the seriousness of this crisis.

Abbott’s measure is also more than just talk. It will give the state of Texas the ability to take action against traffickers.

“Fentanyl remains the single deadliest drug threat our state and nation has ever encountered, killing four Texans every day,” said Abbott. “Fentanyl is a clandestine killer, with Mexican drug cartels strategically manufacturing and distributing the drug disguised as painkillers, stimulants, anti-anxiety drugs, and even candy. In the Biden Administration’s negligence to address this national security threat, Texas has designated Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations and is launching a statewide public awareness campaign to fight the fentanyl crisis in our state.”

Abbott added that the ” ‘One Pill Kills’ campaign to remind Texans that just one pill laced with fentanyl can take someone’s life. Together, we will protect more innocent lives from being lost to this deadly drug.”

Further, he announced new laws to be considered this upcoming legislative session that would classify fentanyl as a poisoning. This is exactly what victims families of fentanyl poisoning deaths want and the reason the public must be warned.

New proposed laws would be stringent. These laws  would charge individuals that  distribute fentanyl or drugs laced with fentanyl that kill someone with murder. The proposals will also make NARCAN, used to revive persons of drug overdoses, more readily available across the state for Texans exposed to fentanyl, the Governor’s press release stated.

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram has also made it her mission to get the word out about the deadly fentanyl pills pouring into the United States by the drug cartels. In a letter she sent in April to local law enforcement across the nation Milgram stated “fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate…Already this year, numerous mass overdose  events have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs.”

In a recent episode of The Sara Carter Show podcast, I interviewed Virginia Krieger. She lost her daughter Tiffany to fentanyl poisoning and has made it her mission to warn parents all across the nation about the dangers of taking any kind of pill that is not prescribed by a personal doctor. In fact, what most people fail to realize is that the majority of precursor chemicals used to produce fentanyl comes from China and is imported into Mexico where the drug cartels mix the batches and create the counterfeit pills before illegally trafficking it to the United States.

Krieger is the co-founder of the ‘Lost Voices of Fentanyl’ Facebook page. It is a space where family members of thousands of victims gather to console and encourage one another and stay resolved to confront this nightmare in our neighborhoods.

She told me during the podcast that her daughters loss “was a shock. It was nothing we expected. She wasn’t what most people believe these victims to be. You know, we’re losing young people from all different walks of life from all financial and racial backgrounds, many of whom do not have an existing addiction problem.”

In Tiffany’s case, she had fallen through a porch and injured her back.

According to Krieger, her daughter “did everything she should do. She went to the doctor in the emergency room, and she got the referral to the neurosurgeon.”

“And while she was waiting for that appointment, someone offered her a Percocet,” said Krieger. It was a friend of Tiffanys.

“She knew what they were, she’d had them before,” Krieger added. “There was no reason to be alarmed by it. And you know, it was an act of compassion by someone who saw that she was in pain that claimed her life. And that pill was a fake pill. It contained illicit fentanyl, and it killed her. And she was on a 26 years old. And this story is playing out over and over and over again. Across the country. These fake pills are everywhere.”

The counterfeit fentanyl pills look like Xanax, Adderall, Vicodin,  Percocet among other pills.

“They’re finding it in ecstasy and cocaine and party drugs that didn’t use to kill people,” she said. “But now they are. And it’s most of the users like Tiffany, were deceived. And so my daughter didn’t overdose and people use that word all the time. That is not what happened to her. The word overdose implies that she went out and sought fentanyl got fentanyl and simply took too much. That isn’t what happened.”

She warned “someone very deliberately disguised fentanyl, as a far less lethal, far less dangerous trademark pharmaceutical product and gave it to her and it killed her and that’s a poisoning. And so that message is resonating with so many families out there who are now part of our bereaved family discussion group, who also lost their children under similar circumstances.”

The DEA also has a One Pill Can Kill initiative. According to the Department of Justice, the administration and law enforcement partners seized more than “10.2 million fentanyl pills and approximately 980 pounds of fentanyl powder during the period of May 23 through Sept. 8, 2022.”

“The amount of fentanyl taken off the streets during this surge is equivalent to more than 36 million lethal doses removed from the illegal drug supply,” the DEA press release stated. “Additionally, 338 weapons were seized, including rifles, shotguns, pistols, and hand grenades.”

In Texas,  almost 1,700 Texans lost their lives because of fentanyl.

 

DEA

Of the 390 cases investigated during this period, 51 cases are linked to overdose poisonings and 35 cases link directly to one or both of the primary Mexican cartels responsible for the majority of fentanyl in the United States – the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). In addition, 129 investigations are linked to social media platforms, including Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok. These results build upon the One Pill Can Kill Phase II results announced by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram in December 2021.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC 

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China Expands Charm Offensive in Southeast Asia to Squeeze out U.S.

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Similar to what is happening in the Pacific, the US is facing a significant uphill battle to balance China’s rise in Southeast Asia. During the recent G20 and ASEAN summits in Indonesia and Cambodia, the Chinese Community Party (CCP) media upped its propaganda war against the United States over Southeast Asia. Outlets like Global Times and Xinhua claim that China’s interests in Southeast Asia are focused on mutual benefits, while the US is a malicious force in the region. The CCP press also claims that China is generously giving robust and purposeful aid to the Southeast Asian countries, while the US is neglecting them.

Claim #1: China’s Interest in Southeast Asia is Peaceful and Mutually Beneficial

China’s approach to Southeast Asia is benevolent and focused on mutual benefits, according to the CCP-run press. “China’s goal is to achieve a truly prosperous and peaceful ASEAN,” and “doesn’t interfere in ASEAN members’ internal affairs,” according to Global Times. “China focuses on pragmatic issues, such as promoting infrastructure construction, living standards, which are needed in those countries,” and “China is seeking a cooperative path toward common development,” according to another Global Times article. That same article quoted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as stating that China and the ASEAN countries “are good neighbors who will always be there for each other…”

One country that is particularly thankful for growing Chinese influence, according to the CCP press, is Indonesia. Indonesians want China to “lead…the world to a more peaceful and prosperous future,” and view Chinese President Xi Jinping “with an apparent sense of affability and affection,” according to Global Times. Marzuki Alie, former speaker of the People’s Representative Council of Indonesia, praised China as “becom[ing] essential in improving global governance,” and that “the visionary concept of building a human community with a shared future proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping shows China is willing to work with other countries to create a peaceful and secure world with openness and inclusiveness,” according to Xinhua. And perhaps the most perplexing aspect of China’s “benevolence” in Indonesia is the “Peace Ark” – a hospital ship that has recently docked in Indonesia, but that is also a navy ship run by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), according to Global Times.

Malaysia has a favorable view of China as well, according to the CCP press. Koh King Kee, president of Center for New Inclusive Asia, a Malaysian think tank, stated that “China is the backbone of the global supply chain and acts as a ballast stone of the global economy in times of uncertainty,” according to Xinhua.

And in response to US concerns over rising Chinese influence in Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian dismisses the base as not targeting any third party, according to Global Times. Cambodia’s Minister of National Defense Tea Banh further claimed that the Chinese involvement in that base is benevolent, stating that the base helps Cambodia “in cooperating with friendly countries and help[ing to] maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity,” according to that same article.

Claim #2: The US’ Interest in Southeast Asia is Manipulative, Malevolent

In contrast to China’s benevolence, the United States “only wants [ASEAN] to serve as its pawn to counter China, and to fulfill its own hegemony goal, according to Global Times. At the G20 conference in Bali, the US takes a “hegemonic, unilateral and protectionist approach,” and “is preaching war and confrontation,” according to that same article.

The US and the West are merely using the G20 summit in Bali “to advance their own geopolitical agenda against Russia, therefore preventing the crucial meeting from tackling serious economic issues,” according to another Global Times article. “Such a geopolitical focus “will worsen this uncertain and unstable world,” according to Veronika S. Saraswati, China Study Unit Convener at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Indonesia.

According to another Global Times article, the US is using ASEAN “to drive a wedge between China and Southeast Asian nations in the future,” is attempting to “rope in the region via political, security, and value-oriented agendas,” and is trying “to buy off” Southeast Asian countries “by pledging to spend certain amount[s] of money.”

Claim #3: China gives Robust, Targeted Aid to Southeast Asia

CCP media taunts the extensive aid that China is giving to Southeast Asian countries. China has pledged $1.5 billion in “development assistance” to ASEAN countries in November 2021, and Chinese-ASEAN trade was about $878 billion in 2021, according to Global Times. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang claims that of the 160 “cooperation initiatives” that China has suggested with the ASEAN countries in the previous 10 years, over 99.5 percent of them have been implemented, as reported by another Global Times article.

Li also stated that China is planning to build emergency storage for medical supplies and rise within the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) framework, according to Global Times.

Chinese state-run media is particularly touting China’s Belt and Road investments in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia and Laos. According to Global Times, the Jakarta-Bandung high speed railway will be operational in June 2023, and as a “flagship project of China-Indonesia cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative,” will be the first high speed train in Southeast Asia, according to Xinhua. China’s ambassador to Indonesia praised the project, claiming that the railway “will greatly reduce traffic jams, make travel more convenient for local people, improve local investment environment, boost businesses and tourism along the route, and accelerate the building of a high speed railway economic corridor.” The ambassador also mentioned that existing Belt and Road initiatives with Indonesia like the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park and the PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry Park, “have generated tax incomes, job opportunities and foreign exchange earnings, and provided Indonesia with opportunities for greater participation in global industrial chains of stainless steel and new energy.”

Meanwhile, Global Times asserts that the China-Laos Railway has generated at least $1.7 billion in trade and has transported almost 10 million tons of goods.

Claim #4: US Investment Lags Behind China

On the other hand, the CCP media claims that the US is lagging far behind Chinese investments in Southeast Asia. President Biden’s newly announced “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” with the ASEAN countries “…looks more like a symbolic act. The US is playing the catch-up game with China,” according to Koh King Kee, president of a Malaysian think tank, according to Global Times.

US and ASEAN trade, at $441 million in 2021, was almost half that of Chinese investment for that same time, according to Global Times. President Biden pledged to ask Congress for $850 million in aid for electric vehicles and clean energy to ASEAN countries, but this amount is “symbolic” and a “mere ‘drop in the bucket’,” according to Global Times. In May, Biden “announced a $150 million development and security package” for the ASEAN countries according to that same article, which pales in comparison to the amounts in aid that China claims it is giving those same countries.

According to Global Times, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned that US investment in ASEAN is “a drop in the bucket if compared to US support for Ukraine” during the Biden administration, which Global Times claims is “over $18.9 billion in security assistance.”

Conclusion

CCP media is waging a charm offensive targeting Southeast Asia. While China is investing heavily in these countries, the US has yet to devise a credible counter to such influence.

You can follow Steve Postal on @HebraicMosaic 

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