A record number of Alaskans are dying from a massive spike in drug deaths, driven by fentanyl pouring across the southern border.

On May 6, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and key members of his cabinet joined U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan for a press conference to address the growing crisis.

While the gathering was largely focused on announcing a new educational and preventative initiative – “One Pill Can Kill” – which includes a $3.3 million effort to address opioid use and overdose at the local level, the root of the problem is much deeper.

In stepping to the microphone, Dunleavy’s first comments pointed to the border crisis.

“A lot of this starts at the international level. A lot of it starts in China,” Dunleavy said, in reference to the fact that China provides key ingredients to Mexico to produce fentanyl, which is then smuggled across the border by drug cartels.

The actual product pipeline is driven by incompetent border enforcement…

“A lot of it starts at our border,” Dunleavy continued. “And it’s our border – even though it’s thousands of miles south of us, it is an entry point here to the United States. We don’t have a lot of illegal activity coming across the border from Russia or Canida. We are fortunate from that perspective. We do feel the fallout at what’s happening at the southern border, and that’s something that really needs to be worked on, to be honest with you.”

Sullivan’s comments highlighted recent reports revealing that powerful Mexican drug cartels are specifically targeting Alaska, flooding cities and even small villages with fentanyl that comes through Arizona and then to Alaska.

“Alaska is under attack,” Sullivan said. “In 2023, opioids killed more Alaskans than ever before.”

He noted that Alaska now leads the nation with the highest year-over-year drug overdose death increases.

According to the Dunleavy administration, preliminary numbers reveal more than 350 Alaskans died from overdose last year, a more than 40% increase compared to 2022. In 2023, approximately three of every four overdose deaths in Alaska were related to fentanyl, a 75% increase from the previous year.

Alaska’s problem mirrors the national epidemic.

According to a May 6 report from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 108,000 Americans died from drug poisonings in 2022 “with a staggering 70% of those deaths caused by fentanyl and synthetic opioids. Fentanyl remains the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18-45.”

While fentanyl has been used in the U.S. since 1960 to treat severe and chronic pain, drug cartels increasingly blend it into methamphetamines, heroin and cocaine – wrapping the products in professional packaging. While some people unknowingly ingest the drug, many deliberately use fentanyl because of the intense euphoric high it induces.

Last month, Zack Smith, who serves as a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, testified before a subcommittee in Congress where he criticized the Biden Administration for creating an unmitigated disaster.

Problems associated with border security are quickly becoming a major campaign issue for Democratic lawmakers in Congress…

“If someone tried to design an ideal scenario to allow human trafficking, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities to flourish, they would have a hard time improving on the current situation at our Southern Border. Rather than enforcing the law, the Biden Administration has instead abdicated its duty to do so with sad and foreseeable consequences following,” he said. “[T]he consequences of this border crisis aren’t confined only to the border but have spread throughout the country from the biggest urban cities to even the most rural Indian reservations. And in fact, it is often these latter locations that suffer the most from the Biden Border Crisis because of the lack of qualified law enforcement personnel to serve these communities…”

In noting that two of the nine Mexican drug cartels – the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel – are “principally responsible for manufacturing the finished product and smuggling it into the United States,” Smith said these “savvy operators are particularly attracted to areas with limited law enforcement resources.

The actual product pipeline is driven by incompetent border enforcement, Smith continued. He pointed to the fact that in December 2023, the Biden Administration encountered more than 12,000 people crossing the border each day.

“To put this context, Obama-Administration DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson previously said that 1,000 border crossings in a single day made for a ‘bad day’ that “overwhelms the system” and described 4,000 crossings in a single day as a ‘crisis,’” he said. “During Fiscal Year 2023, which ended on Sept. 30th of that year, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted that over ‘600,000 people illegally made their way into the States without being apprehended by border agents.’”

Problems associated with border security are quickly becoming a major campaign issue for Democratic lawmakers in Congress, including Alaska’s Rep. Mary Peltola, who are under heightened scrutiny for largely supporting Biden’s border policies in the past.

A new Fox News report calls out Mary Peltola for trying to cover her anti-border security tracks by signing onto a largely symbolic letter with five other Democrats to express their concern about the border, while doing little to actually tackle the problem.

As Fox News points out, Peltola’s border record includes not supporting the Secure the Border Act, and twice voting against efforts to impeach Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many lawmakers argue is largely responsible for the migrant crisis at the border.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Gov. Dunleavy, Sen. Sullivan cite border security ‘fallout’ amid surging Alaska fentanyl deaths

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • DaveMaxwell says:

    This governor has the credibility of his soapy smith grandfather! His awareness of his own state and the incompetent personnel he has running it into the ground is appalling.! Someone please address the baffoon publicly and ask him why the hell is his department of health and human services continuing to mutilate young girls!!!!!!!!? Just one question that maybe he can grasp and give a coherent answer to would be appreciated!

  • John J Otness says:

    Typical Hegelian Dialectic… Problem Reaction Solution ..All furnished by Govt…yep these two…

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    The border problem is bigger than drug and sex trafficking. I wish that Sullivan and Dunleavy would raise the alarm about all of the illegals coming across that are draining the US of its money, resources, and patience. The young men coming across the borders by themselves in the thousands should rate more concerning to the people supposedly running this state and country. We have an illegal, foreign army being built here on US soil; but, so many are looking at the trojan horses that our illegal regime and minions are pushing to distract us. Murkowski’s menopause bill is one of those trojan horses. Peltola, herself, is the trojan horse carcass being filled with b.s.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Another reason to get out and vote. First vote for Bronson, if not, Anchorage will become Portland 2.0.
    and in November for Trump, If not, America will no longer be a free country.

  • John J Otness says:

    The signs of these days.Mark Chapter13 verse 9…The new antisemitic laws will be for the Lovers of CHRIST…. We are here
    But take heed to yourselves for they shall deliver you up to councils and in the synagogues Ye shall be beaten and brought
    before rulers and kings for a testimony against them….And the Gospel must first be published among all Nations. Eyes to see ears to hear….

  • Hosen says:

    I had no idea!

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    These two elected officials have ways to stop this in Alaska. Yes it should be stopped st tge border but it’s not being stopped. It has to either come through Canada, up here on a ship, or fly on an aircraft. Why don’t these two tighten our borders? We can stop it by better checks at our boarders. We have no reason to blame others. We need to do our part and stop it at tge Canadian border, the airport, or our ports as cruise ships come in. It’s not an easy task but hire more people and Do The Job. It’s on Alaskans to keep Alaska safe. Now as for Alaskans having to pay for what’s the over dose drug (Nocal) I forget the name. If you choose to do drugs it’s on you. It’s obvious you can’t deal with life so if you od I say good bye and good ridence. I will have one less trying to rob me again. Either stop doing drugs or pay the price! It’s your decision. Nobody is twisting your arm forcing you to do drugs! Now if my truth isn’t to your liking don’t read this!

  • Dan D says:

    I hope this effort has some success. HOWEVER, as I walked around our community of Dillingham and even walked up on a very large drug bust effort a month ago, it comes to me that we wouldn’t have drug dealers if we didn’t have so many damnned drug consumers. While dealers may encourage and enlarge the problem, the large number of folks eager to get intoxicated by any means are who the dealers arise to supply. What can be done to discourage the end users? Should we raise penalities to users, enforce it with extreme vigor and try to reduce the demand and number of users? Maybe its a mistake to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts. But as with the Prohibition Days we know it can’t be totally stopped. Finally I see more and more folks realizing the “harm reduction” programs don’t work – even by former strong advocates say so -you end up like that drug infested section of Philadelfia. So end harm reduction – quit enabling.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Gateway Pundit put out an article today (5/9/24) that shows that our border crisis has brought a huge problem for our republic:
    “Breaking: House Democrats Vote UNANIMOUSLY to Give Illegal Aliens Representation in Congress and the Electoral College”

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      What is the significance of the numbers here from that article? “The House vote was 206 to 202 with 22 representatives 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans abstaining from the vote.”

  • jon says:

    most drugs aren’t brought inby immigrants. Rather they are brought in by American citizens by plane or boat.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      Where are your sources of proof jon? I think that you should share them with everyone. No one knows what the truth is anymore – please, shed the light on this drug import.