The Nevada Department of Health and Human Resources recently put out a report that states, “Opioid-related deaths in Nevada have decreased slightly since 2010, but the number of fatal heroin overdoses has nearly tripled since then.” In other words, for the entire duration of “the opioid crisis,” prescription-related deaths have actually gone down, while the entire epidemic has been fueled by illicit drugs. This is the same story we’ve seen from data published in almost every state with high drug overdose death rates.
With prescription opioid deaths beginning to plummet before the epidemic levels of overdoses began to soar, everyone seeking the truth should ask the following question: What happened from 2012 to 2015 to make the supply of heroin and new deadly synthetic drugs spike to stratospherically high levels?
The notion that suddenly a bunch of people who broke their legs or who had painful, chronic illnesses decided to switch from oxycodone to heroin in a matter of a year or two is absurd.
Open borders and DACA led directly to the drug crisis
The reality is, as I noted a few weeks ago, our immigration policies and sanctuary cities played a large role in increasing the supply of deadly drugs to insane levels relative to what we’ve seen in the past. The two years with the biggest surge in heroin seizures at the border, by far, were 2014 and 2015, the years with the largest surge of Central Americans who came because of the promise of DACA. The epidemic-level surge in heroin and fentanyl unmistakably coincided with Obama’s shutdown of immigration enforcement between 2010 and 2013. The promise of Obama’s amnesty resulted in the surge in young male drug mules from Central America, the enriching of the drug cartels who control the smuggling routes, the growth of MS-13 drug distributors, and the poisoning of our people.
All of the heroin and much of the fentanyl comes from Mexican drug cartels, such as Siniloa. Much of the Chinese-based fentanyl is also trafficked within our country by the Mexican drug cartels, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The open-borders policies were so blatant that they provided these cartels with a profitable smuggling business. The proceeds were used to produce even more dangerous drugs and enhance the smuggling network.
This is where DACA, “dream” amnesty, the suspension of immigration enforcement, sanctuary cities, and the ensuing surge of Central American teenagers explain the source of the epidemic levels of drugs suddenly appearing from 2013 to 2015.
At one point, Mexican heroin was dirty, impure, black tar heroin, poorly refined and more dangerous than purer herion. Now, high-purity powder heroin is everywhere. The open borders that enabled that kind of mass drug trafficking have made Mexico into a war zone. On the American side, a 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that this is also what’s driving the heroin epidemic. “…[H]eroin market forces, including increased accessibility, reduced price, and high purity of heroin appear to be major drivers of the recent increases in rates of heroin use.”
Lower prices and higher purity mean that you can now try heroin for $10 or $15, and the purity is high enough that you can snort it instead of having to “cook” it in a spoon and inject it in your arm. That removes much of the stigma of heroin and makes it seem like a “normal” drug — with a stronger high than cocaine or marijuana.
Thus, the same drug culture we’ve had in this country since the ’60s – long before the rise of prescription opioids in the late ’90s – mixed with the open-borders surge in supply is now poisoning our people. This has nothing to do with health care, doctors, or prescriptions.
The connection between illegal immigration and this flood of drugs is obvious — when you have large numbers of illegal aliens crossing the border, you have enormous opportunities to use them as drug mules (in exchange for getting them across the border, or just for not killing them). Sanctuary cities also function as a magnet to encourage more illegal immigration and thus more drug mule opportunities. Additionally, with so many illegal aliens crossing the border, it’s much easier for cartel members themselves to sneak in unnoticed among the flood of people. Finally, to move the drug profits back south, cartels pay other aliens to smuggle the cash and weapons back across the border.
This, in a nutshell, is the drug overdose crisis the media and the politicians refuse to even recognize.
The DACA/border surge-driven gang crisis is helping drive the drug crisis
The Texas Department of Public Safety observed that much of the uptick in drug trafficking, coinciding with the unprecedented level of supply and overdose deaths, was through the symbiotic relationship between the cartels in Mexico and the gangs operating within our borders. Its most recent report notes that “as long as illicit cross-border crimes are profitable, the relationship between cartels and gangs will continue.”
The connection between the rise of MS-13 and the drug crisis was further brought to light in January, when 17 gang members were arrested in Long Island for murder, but also for drug trafficking. Remember that even the media has noticed we have a nationwide MS-13 resurgence, particularly in Long Island. Is should, therefore, come as no surprise that the degree of drug trafficking tracks closely with the uptick in Central American gang activity.
This is such a gratuitous and avoidable problem. The proper coordination between ICE and local law enforcement successfully placed MS-13 on the ropes and could work again to break up the drug cartels. Not surprisingly, since Obama suspended the 287(g) program, there’s been a universally recognized resurgence in MS-13. In a 2013 report, the Texas Department of Public Safety warned of the developing relationships between the drug cartels and the gangs and that the gangs “increase their power and acquire wholesale quantities of drugs at lower prices, while the cartels extend their network of connections deeper into the United States.”
Sanctuary cities serve as magnets for drugs and also prevent us from solving the crisis
Border security and aggressive interior enforcement are the only things that can break that link. If the cartels can’t get access to their profits, they have no reason to sell drugs in the U.S. in the first place.
And while not all drugs are brought in by illegal aliens (some are brought in at the points of entry), the smuggling routes are staffed at all top levels almost exclusively by foreign nationals. Thus, if we abolished sanctuary cities and immediately apprehended and deported all criminal aliens, almost the entire personnel structure of the smuggling within our country would dry up – not completely, but to at least pre-crisis levels. We will never kick all drugs out of America, but we can certainly kick out those who bring in the worst type of drugs in large quantities and who shouldn’t be here anyway. Drying up the supply will make the cost and access to illicit drugs much more prohibitive.
As Sherriff Andy Louderback of Jackson County, Texas, testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration:
In the case of heroin, the drugs are largely manufactured in Mexico with a majority controlled by Sinaloa cartel. Not only is the Sinaloa cartel manufacturing heroin, they are also producing fentanyl. And the Sinaloa cartel has been expanding its operations – not only drug trafficking but also human smuggling, extortion, and child labor. These sanctuary cities are a cog in the expanding opioid crisis, as evidenced in the recent drug bust in Boston. They send a clear signal…they also serve as an invitation for criminal aliens smuggling opioids and other narcotics that they will be shielded from federal law enforcement.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan recently noted that sanctuary cities have pulled their officers out of task forces cooperating with combating the drug cartels and that sanctuaries are serving as a “selling point” for illegal alien smuggling. The cartels know that fugitive cities will protect them. What do the cartels do with the proceeds of their smuggling? They use them for more drug production and smuggling.
When President Trump mentioned the fact that sanctuary cities such as Lawrence, Massachusetts, are responsible for bringing in deadly drugs from Mexican cartels and poisoning New Hampshire, liberals derided it by suggesting that New England has few Mexicans living there. Yet the Boston Globe, in 2017, before this became politicized, admitted that “Mexican cartels are delivering vast quantities of the inexpensive and powerful synthetic drug fentanyl to New England” through “a pipeline that often begins in China, winds through Mexico, and flows into distribution cities such as Lawrence and Springfield.” Much as in West Virginia, the secondary trafficking brings the drugs to more remote areas after the cartels bring them to the major hubs, which refutes the entire straw man about demographics and geography.
I’m not saying we can declare a new war on drugs and prevent all illicit drugs from entering this country. A direct war on drugs doesn’t work, much like a war on guns doesn’t work. But as with criminal justice, targeting the criminals works to stop all violence, including gun violence, and targeting criminal aliens, smugglers, and gangs will at least mitigate some of the problem. This is especially true of drug smugglers, given that most of them are foreign nationals who can and should be deported. We don’t need a lengthy criminal justice process to land a conviction; we just need to throw them out. Sure, we always had a drug problem and always will have one, but I think we would all give anything to return to the pre-2013 levels of drug usage and a tighter supply, where these drugs would be too expensive for many wannabe users. The huge and alarming spikes can be tied directly to the erasing of national borders and the cessation of immigration enforcement.
The first rule of medicine is to do no harm. Yet the very politicians who supported the philosophies that led to the overdose epidemic are now ignoring the root causes and proposing ideas that will exacerbate it and limit our freedoms. Government is now practicing medicine by severely restricting legitimate prescriptions for painkillers, wasting billions of dollars on federal programs, and creating a de facto national prescription database. Politicians should leave medicine to medical professionals while doing their job of enforcing our sovereignty and punishing law-breakers.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.