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Biden, Obrador show more united front on fentanyl fight

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Drug trafficking has remained a top international issue between the United States and Mexico, usually addressed at the Mexico City summit. But there were no announcements of any major deals made between the two countries to combat the illegal flow of drugs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl remains the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-49, and in 2022, several months saw record numbers of fentanyl busts across the country, with the deadly drug mainly coming from across the border from Mexico.

Following the summit, the Biden administration released a fact sheet of “Key Deliverables” for the 2023 North American Leaders’ Summit on Tuesday, only mentioning fentanyl twice in the sheet and merely saying that the two countries will continue sharing information on chemicals used to produce the deadly drug.

In the past, the U.S. has pushed for Mexico to crack down on labs where fentanyl gets made, while Mexico has pushed the U.S. to crack down on guns getting into the hands of cartels.

During a news conference with the leaders on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said that moving forward, there will be a focus on going after the fentanyl production labs and the stash houses where the drug gets stored. 

“We’ve seized more than 20,000 pounds of deadly fentanyl at the border, and today we’ve discussed how all three of us can continue to deepen and strengthen our shared efforts to cut off the flow of illegal fentanyl,” Biden said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also touched on drug trafficking during his speech, saying, “it’s not just a matter of the United States.”

“If we don’t confront this problem, this scourge, we are going to suffer it too,” he added. “We have to act in a coordinated way.”

Regardless of what has been said, combating fentanyl will be a slow process.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported fentanyl to be 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and the CDC’s data showed that fentanyl accounts for most overdose deaths.

In Washington, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) introduced legislation last year that would require the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to update border inspections to better detect illegal activity along the border, like drug trafficking. The legislation passed in the Senate but it remains unknown if or when it could be revisited this year.

  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau stand during a message for the media as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. First lady Jill Biden, President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Beatriz Gutierrez Muller, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau pose for the media during the welcome ceremony as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (C) gestures next to U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau during a message for the media as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau pose for the media during a welcome ceremony as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 09, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau hug each other during a message for the media as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a message for the media as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
  • MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – JANUARY 10: U.S. President Joe Biden, President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau walk before a message for the media as part of the ‘2023 North American Leaders’ Summit at Palacio Nacional on January 10, 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. President Lopez Obrador, USA President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gather in Mexico from January 9 to 11 as part of the 10th North American Leaders’ Summit. The agenda includes topics on the climate change, immigration, trade and economic integration, security among others. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

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