Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024
U.S. Department of State Exchange Programs Support Global Efforts to Combat Illicit Synthetic Drugs

Today, the U.S. Department of State announced numerous International Visitor Leadership Programs to augment the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to combat the illicit synthetic drug trade by bringing together international professional experts in the government, health care, law enforcement, and judicial sectors with their American counterparts.  This comes on the heels of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meeting last week with local officials and health and law enforcement professionals at an emergency call center in Tucson, Arizona.  They discussed ongoing efforts to stop the flow of illicit synthetic drugs and their precursors from reaching communities across the United States.  Secretary Blinken also spoke about the Global Coalition to Address Synthetic Drug Threats, which launched in July 2023 and has brought together 152 countries and 15 international organizations to collaborate and address this global security, economic, and health challenge.

The “Towards a More Safe and Secure World” initiative, a three-week exchange for foreign professionals that opened in Washington, D.C. on April 29, brought 50 criminal justice subject-matter experts from more than 40 countries, including Austria, Ecuador, and Thailand.  The program participants are professionals working to combat the transnational threats to international peace and security.  Topics of their events and discussions range from detecting and countering illicit synthetic drugs production, to disrupting transnational organized criminal networks (TCNs), to best practices for local, state, federal, and international task forces working to disrupt TCNs.  Participants are sharing insights from their countries and hearing from experts in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, MD; Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA; Rapid City, SD; Detroit, MI; Austin, TX; Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson, AZ; Tampa, and St. Petersburg, FL; and New York, NY.

Recently, global health experts visited the United States with the “Fentanyl and Other Global Public Health Challenges” program.  Through this exchange, international experts met with U.S. specialists from Washington, D.C.; Rapid City, SD; Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson, AZ; and Miami, FL, to discuss global heath challenges, including the impact of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs on the medical field.

Earlier this year, during the “U.S.-Mexico Shared Fight Against Illicit Fentanyl and other Synthetic Drugs” program, the Department brought together U.S. and Mexican experts to collaborate on best practices to reduce the supply and demand for synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl.  Mexican health and security officials, researchers, legislative advisors, and legal professionals visited their counterparts in Washington, D.C.; Portland, OR; and Albuquerque, NM.  They examined key federal, state, and local practices to combat illicit synthetic drugs, including through policy and programmatic interventions, regulatory frameworks, private sector engagement, and investigative practices.

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.  Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.  More than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 500 current or former Heads of State or Government.

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS