CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants President Joe Biden to address the fentanyl epidemic when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.
Over the summer, the Mon Metro Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force found candy-colored “rainbow fentanyl” in the Morgantown area that United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld said was believed to have come from Mexico. During that press conference, Ihlenfeld also said that there are two cartels responsible for most of the fentanyl in the U.S. and both of them get the precursor ingredients to make fentanyl from China.
This comes at a time when the country has seen record-breaking overdose deaths for two years in a row with 107,622 drug deaths in 2021 and 93,655 in 2020.
Law enforcement and health agencies are largely blaming the increase on fentanyl.
According to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office, there were 1,194 fentanyl and other synthetic opioid deaths in 2021 in West Virginia, which was an increase from 1,083 in 2020.
Biden’s meeting with Xi Jinping is scheduled for Nov. 14. Morrisey sent a letter to the president on Friday urging him to address fentanyl during the meeting.
“This problem is only going to get worse with Biden’s open border policy and without the cooperation of Chinese authorities,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “So it is imperative we attack the problem from both sides—enforce our immigration laws and demand action from the Chinese government. China needs to do more to crack down on the production of illicit fentanyl precursors, and Biden needs to demand action from Xi.”
Monday’s meeting will be the first in-person meeting between Biden and Xi since Biden became president in January 2021.