Biden Silent on Fentanyl Scourge During Summit With Xi

The fentanyl epidemic in America should have been a major topic during the Biden-Xi talks
November 19, 2021 Updated: November 20, 2021


Fentanyl overdoses in the United States are at epidemic levels. Why did President Joe Biden give Chinese leader Xi Jinping a pass on the subject during “frank discussions” at the virtual summit on Nov. 15?

Biden and Xi spent three-and-a-half hours discussing various issues, but one might have expected that the topic of fentanyl production in China would have been broached, given the rising number of fentanyl overdoses in the United States. I mean, this particular topic is life and death unlike the platitudes exchanged and other issues discussed by the two leaders. But the subject apparently could not be wedged into the conversation.

Two days later, Biden did manage to obliquely refer to fentanyl (although the word was not mentioned) in a public statement. He acknowledged a horrible statistic: the deaths of over 100,000 Americans due to drug overdoses over the past year. That statement was vague in that no underlying causes were discussed, nor even a mention of the fentanyl epidemic that is eclipsing other drug overdoses.

Even the Washington Post has noted that fentanyl abuse is a plague in America: “There are now more overdose deaths from the illegal synthetic opioid fentanyl than there were overdose deaths from all drugs in 2016.”

In 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 47,000 people died from opioid overdose, with 28,000 deaths due to synthetic opioids. These were all preventable deaths. And, shockingly, over “four times as many people died from drug overdose (OD) than from homicide in the first month of 2021,” according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS).

Why couldn’t Biden even mention the word “fentanyl” in his statement? And how could he have engaged in three-and-a-half hours of “frank discussions” with Xi on Monday without even mentioning China’s role in producing fentanyl and its precursors? Is it because he is yet again giving a pass to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on an issue of critical importance to Americans? Or was he camouflaging the entire production and distribution chain of fentanyl and its precursors—production in China and distribution through the open border with Mexico?

Biden’s Nov. 17 statement was all about treatment, but those are after the fact measures: “Through the American Rescue Plan, we’ve delivered nearly $4 billion to strengthen and expand services for substance use disorder and mental health.” Nothing about going after production and distribution.

Many people don’t know what fentanyl is. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally as a drug of choice. Synthetic fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids. Some drug dealers are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. Fentanyl is addictive because of its potency.

There is an enormous manufacture of fentanyl (by the tons) and other synthetic narcotics in China. “China produces nearly all of the fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and fentanyl precursors in the world,” according to InSight Crime. Most fentanyl coming to the United States is produced in China and is usually transited through Mexico.

Beijing has banned production of four fentanyl variations in 2017, has declared fentanyl to be a controlled substance, and will implement fines and other penalties to ratchet down illicit production and distribution by Chinese drug laboratories. But what incentive does the CCP have in actually implementing and policing that policy? Zip, zero, nada. Particularly when there is no pressure on doing so from an American president.

And as an August 2021 report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission points out, Chinese production of fentanyl and its chemical precursors continues apace: “China remains the primary country of origin for illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”

meth bust
Seizure of more than 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl powder, fentanyl pills, and heroin along the southwest border in Otay Mesa, San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2020. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

With the United States being flooded with fentanyl and its precursors, is it merely coincidental that the CCP also seeks world domination via a host of strategic initiatives, including Made in China 2025, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Maritime Silk Road, Health Silk Road, etc.? Consider these other actions in context:

  • Massive Chinese spying in the United States to obtain intellectual property and key advanced technologies.
  • Exploitation of the Confucius Institute to penetrate U.S. colleges and universities.
  • Chinese cyber espionage and attacks against private U.S. companies and military agencies.
  • An ongoing nuclear breakout.
  • Atmospheric tests of a suborbital hypersonic glide vehicle (potentially a first-strike strategic weapon system).
  • Infiltration and manipulation (through lucrative trade deals, political campaign donations) of the U.S. political class.
  • Psychological warfare through ongoing intimidation of neighboring nations.
  • Exploitation of the CCP virus for psychological and economic reasons.

Why wouldn’t fentanyl and other synthetic and addictive drugs be part of Beijing’s multi-prong approach to achieve world dominance by undermining its main adversary? What better way to destroy the United States than from within through drug addiction and the hopelessness that addiction engenders? That’s exactly what the legendary military strategist Sun Tzu would recommend: to win without fighting. To destroy the will of the enemy to fight. Fentanyl is just another front in the Chinese regime’s ongoing silent war with the United States.

It’s imperative that the fentanyl epidemic be connected directly to the Chinese regime and addressed accordingly. But other connections are equally important. Just as the open southern border is a gateway for illegal aliens infected with COVID-19 to pour into the United States, so, too, does that gateway provide open access for Mexican cartels to flood the country with Chinese-produced fentanyl and other drugs.

Another issue is the demand side of the fentanyl problem. There are two aspects that pertain. The first is George Soros’ Open Society Foundations that advocate for the decriminalization of gateway drugs. Gateway drugs, like marijuana, frequently lead to abuse over time of more powerful illicit drugs such as synthetic opioids. Secondly, the pandemic lockdowns continue to destroy lives and businesses while spreading hopelessness and despair, creating conditions that exacerbate drug abuse. The USA Today was able to make that connection in this Nov. 17 headline: “Drug overdoses surged amid COVID lockdowns.”


The fentanyl epidemic in the United States is exploding and exacerbated by the Biden administration’s misguided approach to focus only on treatment and prevention without attacking root causes. The production, supply, and distribution of fentanyl, and the important reasons for opioid demand are not addressed in a complete, end-to-end policy intended to tackle the problem. Biden had a golden opportunity to bring up the important topic with Xi during the summit, but failed to do so. Meanwhile, four times as many Americans die from drug overdoses than from homicide.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.