The debate in both the mainstream media and social media has long been centered around people coming into the country illegally.
You see countless stories and images of parents and children allegedly being separated.
You hear talk of diseases that were all but eradicated in the U.S. being brought across the border.
But there’s another conversation that’s only happening once in a while, and that’s a debate over drugs.
Earlier this week, that conversation came into the headlines over a huge fentanyl bust of a Mexican national by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. He was allegedly carrying a record amount, with enough fentanyl to kill 57 million Americans, according to an internal memo first reported on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”.
The unnamed suspect was carrying more than 114 kilograms of fentanyl, 1 kilogram of fentanyl pills, and 179 kilograms of methamphetamine in the floor of a tractor-trailer.
The suspect was apparently part of the “Fast and Secure Trade Program”. After his arrest, FAST card was “processed for revocation.”
While everyone is debating over building a wall on the border, there’s one area that has actually found common ground in Congress. According to Greg Giuntini, Director of Market Development for DetectaChem, that’s in the drug battle.
“One of the few issues that politicians have agreed upon during the wall funding debate is that our Customs and Border Protection officers need new and advanced drug detection technology,” he said.
And the funds are already being quietly allocated for that battle, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase that drug detection technology to help secure our borders.
This is good news for companies like DetectaChem, which was just named as the #1 fentanyl detection product commercially available today in a major U.S. Army evaluation of 21 different products.
“The Trump administration and Customs and Border Protection are aware of the products available and many of the evaluated products are expected to be integrated into the new drug detection technology infrastructure,” said Giuntini.
The DetectaChem MobileDetect product has already been integrated into much of the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Homeland Security and many police departments across the country because of its next-generation technology and low cost.
“There are several products on the market that cost north of $50,000 and were evaluated as less effective than our test kits working with the MobileDetect app,” said Giuntini. “At $3.50 for each Multi Drug Fentanyl Test kit and our free app, all levels of law enforcement officers can cost-effectively detect fentanyl.”
The company has long been a leader in explosives detection and is now conquering the drug detection side.
And the threat is staggering.
In 2016, over 42,000 deaths were attributed to opioid overdoses, with nearly half of that number directly related to fentanyl. In 2017, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased for the first time in decades due to opioid-related deaths. This is likely going to be the same for 2018 unfortunately.
But the threat doesn’t just stop at law enforcement and drug users. There is an increasing risk that the substance could potentially be weaponized and unleashed on the public.
Fentanyl has been weaponized before in Moscow in 2002 when Chechen separatists held 850 hostages at the Dubrovka Theater. The Russian military pumped an aerosolized fentanyl through the ventilation system with the intent to incapacitate everyone in the theater in order to safely remove the hostages while suppressing the Chechens. However, the concentration was miscalculated and was far too potent resulting in the deaths of all terrorists and as many as 130 hostages.
A kilo of pure carfentanil attached to a drone is a legitimate CWA threat.
If slits or holes were cut in the kilo and then flown through a crowded enclosed public space like a subway station or shopping mall, there would be a mass exposure almost certainly resulting in numerous fatalities.
One thing is for certain. The battle over the wall is sure to rage on. But the battle over drugs is something that we now have the tools and soon the funding to fix – if we’re willing to take on the fight.