Illegal drugs 'produced in Mexico and sold in the United States' are top national security threat: report

Illegal drugs 'produced in Mexico and sold in the United States' are top national security threat: report
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: Shaun Willis, with the Brooklyn Community Recovery Center, demonstrates how to use Narcan to revive a person in the case of a drug overdose on August 31, 2022 in New York City. Nearly one million people have died of drug overdose deaths in America in the past two decades, with an increasing majority of those deaths due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, the Brooklyn Community Recovery Center handed out packs of Narcan nasal spray before holding a brief vigil for lives lost due to drug overdoses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images).

Illegal drugs "produced in Mexico and sold in the United States" are the top national security threat facing the American people, according to a Department of Homeland Security assessment released on Thursday.

"While terrorists pose an enduring threat to the Homeland, drugs kill and harm far more people in the United States annually," DHS states, stressing in its report that the flow of illicit substances is "supporting violent criminal enterprises, money laundering, and corruption that undermines the rule of law."

ABC News correspondents Luke Barr and Sarah Beth Hensley note that "DHS said it expects illegal drugs produced in Mexico and sold in the United States will continue to kill more Americans than any other threat" and that "in the past year, traffickers have contributed to more lethal mixes of fentanyl — an already deadly drug — on the market and driving an increase in overdose deaths in the US. It is expected that fentanyl will remain the leading cause of narcotics-related deaths in the US in 2024."

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Barr and Hensley explain that "more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the US during the last year, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 75% of those overdose deaths are from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl."

They add, "DHS said it has invested in stopping these dangerous and illegal drugs from entering the country — seizing more fentanyl, and arresting more people for fentanyl-related crimes in the last two years than in the previous five years combined, DHS said in a statement to ABC News."

Meanwhile, DHS warns that "during the next year, we assess that the threat of violence from individuals radicalized in the United States will remain high, but largely unchanged, marked by lone offenders or small group attacks that occur with little warning. Foreign terrorist groups like al-Qa'ida and ISIS are seeking to rebuild overseas, and they maintain worldwide networks of supporters that could seek to target the Homeland."

DHS also cited domestic terrorists as a risk to public safety, pointing out, "These actors will continue to be inspired and motivated by a mix of conspiracy theories; personalized grievances; and enduring racial, ethnic, religious, and anti-government ideologies, often shared online."

READ MORE: 'Be realistic': Conservative slams Republicans calling for military action against Mexico

View Barr's and Hensley's analysis at this link.

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