Politics

Getting illicit pills as easy as ordering food delivery via app, DEA administrator tells Congress

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(WASHINGTON) — Getting illicit pills is as easy as ordering food delivery through an app, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned Congress on Tuesday.

“We say all the time that the most dangerous place in the world right now is our homes because everyone has a smartphone, and within two or three … clicks on a smartphone, people are having pills delivered to their front doorstep like Uber Eats, like they get pizza delivered,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday.

“We’re losing 22 Americans, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, every single week right now” to illegal drug use, Milgram said. “So, this is a national tragedy.”

Milgram also noted that the DEA has been waiting for nearly a year for one of their work visas to be approved by the Mexican government so they can send personnel into the country to investigate the drug cartels that are running the illegal operations that are sending illicit pills to the U.S.

“We’ve been waiting eight months for one visa, and we know the cost of, of what that means for us in terms of our ability to get worked done,” Milgram told the subcommittee. “Every year in the United States, we’re losing more than 100,000 Americans. So time matters, and I couldn’t speak with enough urgency as to how important it is for us to get those 13 agents and intel analysts into the country.”

The visas would make it easier for DEA agents and analysts who are investigating drug cartels, she said.

“The men and women of DEA are working nonstop to defeat those cartels,” she said. “And we shouldn’t ask them to work under difficult circumstances, but they do and they’re incredibly effective.”

Milgram said the DEA currently has 2,000 active investigations into the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels, including money laundering and precursor chemical investigations.

Seven out of ten illicitly made pills contain some form of fentanyl, which is killing thousands of Americans each year, Milgram said. She also noted that last year, the DEA seized 79 million fake pills and 12,000 pounds of powder fentanyl.

Milgram asked Congress for more funds so that the DEA can invest in more resources to stop illicit drugs from entering the U.S.

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