Joe Biden

Press Release - White House Calls on Congress for Immediate Action to Continue the Administration's Work to Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking

October 20, 2023

In support of President Biden's Unity Agenda priority of beating the overdose epidemic, White House requests more than $1.2 billion to stop the flow of fentanyl into our communities

Today, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Dr. Rahul Gupta released the following statement on President Biden's supplemental funding request, which calls on Congress to fund the Administration's expansion of efforts to stop the flow illicit fentanyl across our southwest border.

"The Biden-Harris Administration has invested significant amounts of funding for law enforcement efforts and deployed more innovative new technology to detect and seize historic amounts of illicit fentanyl at ports of entry. These unprecedented efforts have contributed to the year-long flatlining in the national overdose death rate," said Dr. Gupta, Director of National Drug Control Policy. "Yet, with more than 110,000 Americans dead from an overdose in the last year alone, President Biden is laser-focused on deploying the necessary resources and actions to reduce overdoses. As part of the President's Unity Agenda, this is an issue where members of both parties can and must come together, and Congress must deliver on these resources."  

Today's supplemental funding request to advance critical national security priorities includes more than $1.2 billion to crack down on the trafficking of dangerous and lethal illicit drugs like fentanyl. The Administration is asking Congress to provide the resources our law enforcement personnel need to secure the southwest border and stop the flow of fentanyl into our country.

The requested funding includes:

  • $1.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including non-intrusive inspection system deployment and additional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.
  • $23 million for the Department of Justice (DOJ) for illicit fentanyl testing and tracing activities.

The requested border funding also supports:

  • An additional 1,300 border patrol agents to work alongside the 20,200 agents already funded in the FY2024 Budget.
  • Funding to deploy over 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect fentanyl at our southwest border ports of entry.
  • Additional 1,000 law enforcement personnel and investigative capabilities to disrupt the flow of fentanyl into the country.

Under President Biden's leadership, the Administration has invested significant amounts of funding for law enforcement efforts to address illicit fentanyl trafficking and historic amounts of illicit drugs have been seized at our border. Over the past two years, the Administration has invested historic funding – representing a 20% increase over the previous administration's entire four years – to fight fentanyl. Since January 2021, CBP has seized nearly 1.9 million pounds of illicit drugs primarily at or between ports of entry on our border, including nearly 48,000 pounds of fentanyl.  

During his State of the Union address this year, President Biden called for a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border. President Biden called for $535 million for border security technology in his FY24 budget, including $305 million for non-intrusive inspection systems, with a primary focus on fentanyl detection at ports of entry. Nearly 90% of the drugs that come into our country come through legal, commercial ports of entry. That's why President Biden remains laser-focused on ensuring our ports of entry have 21st century technology like non-intrusive inspection systems.

By providing 123 new large-scale scanners at land points of entry along the Southwest Border by Fiscal Year 2026, CBP will increase its inspection capacity from what has historically been around two percent of passenger vehicles and about 17 percent of cargo vehicles to 40 percent of passenger vehicles and 70 percent of cargo vehicles. These non-intrusive inspection systems are a force multiplier within CBP's layered enforcement strategy and address the mission need to inspect arrival conveyances at the nation's borders effectively without negative impact to legitimate trade or travel. The average non-intrusive inspection examination of a cargo container takes approximately 8 minutes, while a physical inspection takes 120 minutes on average. Once deployed, the time saved using non-intrusive inspection and radiation detection equipment will save CBP an estimated $1 billion in annual operations and saves industry an estimated $5.8 billion to $17.5 billion in costs due to delays.

In August, President Biden submitted his supplemental funding request urging Congress to help strengthen efforts to address the nation's overdose epidemic.

  • This request includes $323 million for DHS to continue to expand deployment of Non-Intrusive Inspection Systems, with a primary focus on fentanyl detection at ports of entry.
  • The request also includes around $116 million for other DHS and DOJ activities to counter drug trafficking.
  • These investments will crack down on a major avenue of fentanyl trafficking, securing our border and keeping dangerous drugs from reaching our communities.

The Biden-Harris Administration has made cracking down on global illicit drug trafficking and holding drug traffickers accountable a key priority in the efforts to beat the overdose epidemic. The Administration's decisive actions to crack down on drug trafficking include:

  • Announcing a strategic approach of Commercially Disrupting the global illicit fentanyl supply chain. The Biden-Harris Administration announced a strengthened whole-of-government approach to save lives by disrupting the trafficking of illicit fentanyl and its precursors into American communities. This approach builds on the President's National Drug Control Strategy and helps deliver on his State of the Union call to beat the opioid and overdose epidemic by cracking down on the production, sale, and trafficking of illicit fentanyl to help save lives, protect the public health, and improve the public safety of our communities.
  • Increasing security at the border. Under President Biden's leadership, this Administration has invested significant amounts of funding for law enforcement efforts to address illicit fentanyl trafficking and enabled historic seizures of illicit fentanyl on the border. 
  • Expanding our High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program. The HIDTA program devotes more than $302 million to supporting federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement working to stop traffickers across all 50 states. Earlier this summer, the White House announced the designation of nine new counties to the HIDTA Program. The addition of these nine counties to the HIDTA program will allow additional resources to be deployed to areas hardest hit by drug trafficking and overdoses.
  • Launching the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats.  The Biden-Harris Administration launched the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats that will help accelerate efforts against illicit synthetic drugs and employ coordinated approaches to prevent illicit drug manufacturing, detect emerging drug threats, disrupt trafficking, address illicit finance, and respond to public safety and public health impacts. The Administration brought together more than 80 countries and 11 international organizations to take action knowing that countering illicit synthetic drugs must be a global policy priority.
  • Regulating "precursor" chemicals used to produce illicit fentanyl. At the request of the United States, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted to control three chemicals used by drug traffickers to produce illicit fentanyl.

Joseph R. Biden, Press Release - White House Calls on Congress for Immediate Action to Continue the Administration's Work to Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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