Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking Releases Its Final Report

A container shaped like the United States is filled with pills and sits atop an American flag

The U.S. Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, which was established by the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act, has released its final report. Comprised of senators and representatives from both parties, senior members of the executive branch, and nationally recognized subject-matter experts, the Commission outlines a strategic approach to fighting the flow of synthetic opioids – particularly fentanyl – into the United States as well as reducing the number of overdose deaths.

According to their research, more than one million Americans have died from drug overdoses since 1999 — a staggering number considering it is far more than all of the U.S. service members killed in every war throughout our nation’s history. Furthermore, the amount of Americans lost to opioids each year is more than double the number killed by motor vehicle accidents, suicide, or firearms, and this rate is steadily increasing.

After discussing the foreign policy, homeland security, intelligence, legal, and regulatory dimensions of this problem in depth over the course of the past 12 months, the Commissioners present an array of data-driven proposals to create a coordinated approach to the opioid crisis, including recommendations across five pillars:

  • Develop a unified, central body to coordinate planning, implementation, and evaluation of all U.S. drug policies;
  • Disrupt drug supply through targeted oversight and enforcement;
  • Make public health demand-reduction approaches central in the fight against opioid trafficking to reduce the number of potential buyers;
  • Collaborate with other countries involved in the production and distribution of synthetic opioids and their chemical precursors;
  • Improve surveillance and data analysis to allow for more timely and effective interventions.

Click here to read the full report.


For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the HSDL Featured Topic on Opioids, or check out some of the many HSDL documents focusing on synthetic opioids.

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