U.S. Fentanyl Crisis—Made in China and Germany?

“The United States is determined to disrupt the global production and supply chain of illicit fentanyl,” read a February 22 press statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. But a source of the deadly drug might be overlooked.

Operatives associated with the Sinaloa cartel, the Mexican criminal group responsible for the largest consignments of fentanyl to the U.S., claim that its fentanyl with “99.9 percent purity comes from Germany.” Given Germany’s high proficiency in the medical use of fentanyl, this is plausible—but no one seems interested in investigating. Why?

Deadly fentanyl: According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the surge in overdose fatalities, largely attributed to the proliferation of illicit fentanyl, caused the death of 110,236 individuals in 2022.

  • The U.S. is the leading per capita consumer of opioids globally; Canada ranks third
  • Germany claims the second spot, but unlike its trans-Atlantic counterparts, it has no opioid epidemic—because it restricts its fentanyl use to medical facilities.

Germany’s high per capita opioid consumption rate is driven by extensive use of opioids in institutional settings (e.g. fentanyl during inpatient surgery). But unlike in Canada and the United States, in Germany prescriptions for chronic non-cancer pain are uncommon for people living outside of medical facilities. Only 4.5 percent of Germans living in the community receive an opioid prescription each year, versus 20 percent of Canadians. This means that in Germany, there is far less medically unsupervised opioid use and far fewer opioid pills accumulating in medicine cabinets, where they can be accessed by people other than the intended patient.
—Brookings Institute

But there is indication that Germany may not be as careful about exporting its fentanyl abroad.

Ignored revelations: Business Insider talked to an operative trained by a Chinese man to produce fentanyl that is sold to the U.S. Business Insider noted on its website on Nov. 17, 2022:

Most of the chemicals used are illegally imported from China and Germany, according to the [operative]. As soon as the fentanyl powder reaches Mexico, they begin to cook in order to ship it to the U.S.

In 2020, reporters from Univision Noticias, a major American Spanish-language broadcast television network, also spoke to the people producing fentanyl who are affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel. The fentanyl cook they talked to said he was trained by a Colombian. Translated below is part of the report:

Reporter: “The base substance consists of chlorine with acetate, precursor of fentanyl and opium. The precursor is imported illegally from China and Germany.”

The cook: “The chemicals come from China and Germany. We use 99.9 percent purity, and that is German.”

Two individuals talking to two different news organizations claim that their fentanyl comes from Germany, but hardly anyone appears concerned—even though fentanyl is killing tens of thousands of people.

A trustworthy ally? While we can’t conclude with certainty that Germany plays a role in America’s deadly fentanyl crisis, it is remarkable that no one seems alarmed or intent on investigating. Many people consider Germany one of America’s closest allies. But the Bible reveals that we have to watch this nation closely. To learn more, read “No One Fears Germany.”