Congressional investigation blames China for fueling fentanyl crisis in U.S.

WASHINGTON — On average, more than 200 Americans are dying every day from fentanyl. It’s the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45.

This week, grieving parents held up photos of their children who died from the dangerous drug during a House hearing that revealed new findings from a bipartisan investigation that blames China for fueling the fentanyl crisis in the U.S.

April Babcock’s 25-year-old son Austen died from fentanyl in 2019. She now advocates for change through a nonprofit she started to help others, but also added she’s frustrated by the slow-moving action by government officials.

“We’re sick of it. We’re tired of funerals,” said Babcock. “I’m not fighting for my son. He’s dead. I’m fighting for the living to continue to live.”

This week, the House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party (CCP) released a new report following a months-long investigation.

The report said the CCP “directly subsidizes the manufacturing and export of illicit fentanyl materials and other synthetic narcotics through tax rebates” and said it “gave monetary grants and awards to companies openly trafficking illicit fentanyl materials.” That’s despite many of those substances being illegal under China’s own laws.

“The Chinese Communist party is telling us that it wants more fentanyl entering our country,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Committee Chairman. “It wants the chaos and devastation that has resulted from this epidemic.”

“It’s estimated that 97 percent of illegal fentanyl entering the U.S. comes from the People’s Republic of China (PRC),” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Committee Ranking Member. “The CCP has not taken enough action. This lack of action is simply unacceptable.”

The report also says China has warned targets of investigation when U.S. law enforcement gets involved.

“Rather than investigating drug traffickers, PRC security services have not cooperated with U.S. law enforcement and have even notified targets of U.S. investigations when they received requests for assistance,” the report said.

Lawmakers also pointed to findings showing while there were more than 76,000 fentanyl deaths in the U.S. in 2022, there were zero reported in China that year.

“This is not an accident. This is a hostile act by a hostile nation,” said Sam Chapman, a father who attended the hearing.

Chapman’s 16-year-old son Sammy died from fentanyl he got through social media in 2021.

We asked Chapman what actions he would like to see Congress take in response to the findings.

“I believe we should be sanctioning China and not remove those sanctions until the precursor chemicals stop being sent into our atmosphere,” said Chapman.

Lawmakers behind the report are pushing for economic penalties.

“The United States must impose strong punitive measures that create economic, trade, and legal incentives so that the PRC companies end their involvement in the global illicit fentanyl trade,” the report said. “The United States must make clear that they can be part of global commerce or they can continue aiding the global illicit fentanyl trade, not both.”

In response to the report, a Chinese official did not directly address the allegations of China subsidizing the production of fentanyl precursors. The official did say China has cracked down on illegal smuggling, manufacturing and trafficking of fentanyl.

Grieving parents we spoke with aren’t buying it.

“This is an intentional act by China. It is an undeclared war on the United States,” said Chapman.

“China’s the head of the snake,” said Babcock. “They’re getting away with poisoning Americans without firing one shot.”

VIDEO: 2 kids hospitalized for possible fentanyl overdose at NC daycare

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