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Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Tucson

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits tucson
Posted at 6:38 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 12:07:27-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Fentanyl and the synthetic drug crisis was at the forefront of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Tucson on Friday. He visited the Tucson passport office and the 911 call center before heading to Sedona in the evening.

Blinken met with Mayor Regina Romero and other city leaders to learn more about the impact of synthetic opioids in Tucson communities. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said more than 40% of the fentanyl seized at the border this year was at the Nogales ports of entry.

"We see it effect our communities every day, about 40% of Americans know someone who died from an opioid overdose," he said.

He said the synthetic opioid crisis is a global issue and it takes cooperation from all countries to combat this crisis.

"The ingredients that go into making fentanyl are often from across the world," he said. "We're working with Mexico in breaking up the cartels, breaking up the financing and working to strengthen our technology at the southern border so we can detect things coming in."

He said the goal is to see the flow slow down by working on every level of the problem. Millions of dollars are set to come to southern Arizona over the next few years to fund more education campaigns, treatment options and housing options.

"We have to work at the beginning of the supply chain and work every piece of it," he said.

Tina Giuliano is a reporter for KGUN 9. She is a native Arizonan and grew up in Scottsdale. Tina is passionate about storytelling and is excited to work telling Tucson's stories. Share your story ideas and important issues with Tina by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.