Strategy to Combat Illicit Opioids

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) released its first Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids. The Strategy was developed using HSI’s intelligence and extensive expertise in investigating the illicit drug supply chain, made unique due to its roots in U.S. Customs. The staggering number of deaths due to drug overdoses–over 100,000 American lives in 2021–makes it clear that more must be done to reduce the supply feeding the nation’s opioid epidemic. As the principal investigative arm of DHS, HSI is well positioned to disrupt drug flows at the transnational criminal level, at U.S. borders and points of entry, and in cyberspace.

Objectives of the Strategy for Combating Illicit Opioids align with President Biden’s 2022 National Drug Control Strategy which focused on two critical drivers of overdose–untreated addiction and drug trafficking. The primary objectives of the HSI strategy are:

Goal 1: Reduce the international supply of illicit opioids
Goal 2: Reduce the domestic supply of illicit opioids
Goal 3: Attack the enablers of illicit opioid trafficking: illicit finance, cybercrime, and weapons smuggling
Goal 4: Conduct outreach with private industry

Whether you live in a rural area, a large city, or the suburbs, we have all been negatively
impacted by the plague of narcotics trafficking in our communities. The American people
deserve a collaborative and comprehensive approach to tackle this problem and there is no
federal law enforcement agency better positioned to advance the fight than HSI. We are
committed now more than ever to standing with our partners and taking every action within our
power to end this epidemic. Our children, families, and loved ones depend on it.

Steve K. Francis, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director

For more information on topics related to this piece, visit the HSDL In Focus on Fentanyl and Opioids, or check out other resources related to drug trafficking.

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