THERE WAS a time when people could dismiss drug overdoses as something that happened to other people. Not anymore. Today, most people know someone — relative, friend, neighbor — who has died from the fentanyl crisis overwhelming our country.
I should know. A few years ago, my brother’s wife thought she was taking a Percocet but it was laced with fentanyl. My niece and nephew lost their mother.
My sister-in-law is one of the 70,000-plus people who die from overdoses of opioids like fentanyl every year. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-49. New Hampshire has been particularly hard hit. Our small state saw 486 people dying from a drug overdose in 2022. That’s the highest number since 2017, and that number is increasing in New Hampshire faster than the rest of the country.
These people are not hardened criminals. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and coworkers. They are people with big lives and big dreams. They leave behind broken families who will never be the same.
What are we going to do about it? In the state legislature, I saw a lot of bills that dealt with the aftereffects of this crisis. But if we really want to solve this crisis, we need an all-encompassing plan, and we need to disrupt the flow of fentanyl at its source.
No presidential candidate is talking about this deadly poison more than Nikki Haley. I attended her community discussion recently hosted by the Freedom Movement, an organization that helps people struggling with addiction. A few months ago, she hosted a roundtable with law enforcement officials to get a better understanding on how the fentanyl crisis is affecting our men and women in blue.
According to Haley, stopping the fentanyl crisis has to start with China, and no candidate has been tougher on China than the feisty former United Nations ambassador.
Much of the fentanyl killing our citizens comes from China in the form of fentanyl precursors — chemicals that are sent from China to Mexico to be processed and made into synthetic pills.
These pills are then smuggled across the United States border through normal ports of entry. Some of it is discovered and seized. In 2022, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized 58.4 million fentanyl-lace fake pills and more than 13,000 pounds of fentanyl powder — equal to more than 387.6 million lethal doses of fentanyl and enough to kill every American. But much of the drugs make their way into the United States where they are dispatched across the country through a network of drug dealers.
Haley’s plan to combat China is extensive. It involves building up our military, getting China out of our universities, cracking down on the export of sensitive technologies to China, and many other important steps. She also calls for ending normal trade relations with China if the communists don’t stop sending fentanyl our way.
This may not seem like a big step to the average citizen, but Haley’s plan is a major departure from decades of bipartisan policy that believed we could change China if we grew closer to the communist regime. In return, China has been spying on America, stealing our information and technology, infiltrating our universities, hacking our government, lying about COVID, threatening our allies, and sending deadly drugs to our shores.
Enough. As Haley tells it, “China is not our friend. China is our enemy.” We need a leader who recognizes this growing threat and has the iron will to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party. Amazingly, there are 13 Republicans in the presidential race — 12 men and one woman — and only one of them has the metaphorical balls to get the job done.
Haley has made combating the China threat a top priority. She knows what’s at stake, and she knows we don’t have time to waste. Joe Biden has done the opposite. Over the past few months, he sent three members of his administration to make nice with China and got nothing done on fentanyl. Needless to say, Xi Jinping was not impressed.
In Haley we have a leader who isn’t ashamed of American strength. On the contrary, she knows that our national strength is the best tool we have for combatting China and saving our loved ones. It’s up to us to make sure she’s in the position to get the job done.