The most popular social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are now “the leading source of illegal drug purchases for teenagers and young adults, according to The New York Times” reports The Foreign Desk News.
The apps are able to effectively target and advertise to youth with anonymity, temporary posts and emojis. In order to evade obvious criminal activity, often emojis are used as representation of the drug or illegal activity.
In addition to deadly drug deals conducted, connections are made to children in the organized crime world. “Reports emerged earlier this year that the cartel is using social media apps to recruit American teens to drive illegal immigrants across the border at a rate of up to $3,000 per person” reports The Foreign Desk.
For example, a crystal ball is used to represent selling meth, and a bus is used for Xanax. Offenders “choose who can see the post, which could be a story on Instagram or Snapchat, and then delete it once they have enough contacts. Sale arrangements are often made off-platform with a secure messaging app and payments can be made through apps like Venmo or Cash App” adds The Foreign Desk.
Fentanyl laced drugs has resulted in teenage deaths almost quadrupling from 253 in 2019 to 884 in 2021, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Fentanyl’s potency is roughly 100 times that of morphine, making only a tiny amount, such as little as two milligrams, to be fatal. “A tiny amount can produce similar effects as the advertised drugs at a much lower cost. So illegal drug makers often sprinkle it into pills which are sold to buyers who only have their dealer’s word on what the pills contain” adds The Foreign Desk.
“Overdose victims often die when they use a drug they thought was Percocet or even Xanax, for example but is actually fentanyl or laced with an indiscriminate amount of fentanyl.”
Fentanyl, like other opioids, causes death by depressing the respiratory drive. Overdose victims can go into respiratory arrest the instant a lethal dose enters their system and die within minutes as they suffocate while unconscious.
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Biden to lift sanctions on China in exchange for third promise to combat fentanyl
Reportedly President Joe Biden is making deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help improve anti-drug trafficking measures. China is one of the top fentanyl producers and distributors, culminating in a pandemic of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the United States.
The Biden administration will be lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, in exchange for bolstering anti-drug trafficking measures, Bloomberg reported. “We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018. Nonetheless, China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report.
“China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
President Joe Biden and Xi are meeting for the first time in over a year during this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will crack down on Chinese companies manufacturing chemical precursors for fentanyl in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science, which the Commerce Department added to the Entity List in 2020 for “engaging in human rights violations and abuses” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
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