WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released estimates of poppy cultivation and potential heroin production in Mexico, which showed slight increases for 2021 after three consecutive years of decline. However, overdose deaths involving heroin and border seizures of heroin significantly declined in 2021.

“As part of President Biden’s whole-of-government Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic, this Administration is continuing to work with Mexico to reduce the supply of illicit drugs that harm the health and safety of both countries,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of ONDCP. “We need Congress to fully fund the President’s budget request to increase resources to disrupt and dismantle international drug trafficking organizations, as well as to expand public health interventions that save lives.”

In 2020, estimated poppy cultivation and potential heroin production reached their lowest totals since 2014.  The annual United States Government estimate found that in 2021, poppy cultivation in Mexico increased by 23 percent, from 23,200 hectares in 2020 to 28,600 hectares.

Similarly, potential pure production of heroin increased by 22 percent, from 59 metric tons in 2020 to 72 metric tons in 2021.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest provisional data predicted 9,137 overdose deaths involving heroin in 2021, a 32 percent decrease compared to heroin-involved deaths in 2020 (13,437 deaths). And heroin seizures at the Southwest border in 2021 decreased 30 percent from 2020 levels.

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the supply of illicit drugs, the United States and Mexico announced in October the U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities that established a comprehensive, long-term approach for binational actions to enhance the safety and security of both countries.

Under this framework, the United States and Mexico pledged to stand together to:

  • Protect our people by investing in public health as related to the impacts of drug use, supporting safe communities, and reducing homicides and high-impact crimes.
  • Prevent transborder crime by securing modes of travel and commerce, reducing arms trafficking, targeting illicit supply chains, and reducing human trafficking and smuggling.
  • Pursue criminal networks by disrupting financiers and strengthening security and justice sectors.

Each goal is an integral part of the holistic approach needed to effectively address drug related issues on both sides of the border.

Working closely with Mexico and other global partners to address drug-related challenges is a key priority of President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy, a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic by going after two key drivers: untreated addiction and drug trafficking.

President Biden’s FY23 budget request calls for a historic investment of $42.5 billion for National Drug Control Program agencies, a $3.2 billion increase over the FY 2022 continuing resolution level. The budget includes an increase in funding for efforts to reduce the supply of illicit drugs and stop drug trafficking, as well as to support the expansion of evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services, with targeted investments to support underserved communities.

Read more about the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy HERE.


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