Headline RoundupMarch 12th, 2023

Fentanyl Crisis: How Should the US Deal With Mexican Drug Cartels?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A deadly kidnapping by a faction of the Gulf cartel in Mexico drew renewed political attention to fentanyl trafficking — including calls for U.S. military intervention against drug cartels.

Key Quotes: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday called for unleashing “fury and might” against the cartels, and some lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced bills to designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. Meanwhile, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador met with U.S. officials on Thursday to discuss their ongoing coordination of security efforts, particularly concerning fentanyl, weapons, and organized crime. However, López Obrador also publicly warned against U.S. military intervention and framed fentanyl overdoses as America’s problem.

For Context: An analysis by the advocacy group Families Against Fentanyl found that fentanyl-related overdoses were the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 45 in 2021. According to the DEA, “Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China.” President Joe Biden met with Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in January to discuss regional issues, including drug trafficking and security cooperation. 

How the Media Covered It: Right-rated outlets were generally more likely to focus on fentanyl and Republican lawmakers’ calls for action. Some coverage from outlets on the left warned against a new “war on drugs.” 

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