In Vienna, Blinken warns of the global opioid epidemic

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Vienna: The Gaza war and the war in Ukraine were on the agenda in talks with Chancellor Nehhammer, Foreign Minister Schallenberg and Federal President Van der Bellen.

Never before had a US Secretary of State attended the UN Office on Drugs and Crime conference in Vienna. But Anthony Blinken had a good reason for this premiere. “Every five minutes in the United States, a person dies from an overdose of synthetic drugs,” he told the UN in Vienna on Friday. He explained in his speech in the city. Sadly the numbers have come down recently but are still very high.

The opioid epidemic has been raging in the United States for years. Fentanyl use has recently become the leading cause of death in the United States among 18- to 49-year-olds. Tens of thousands of people have died from narcotic painkillers that have long been sold illegally by drug traffickers.

In Vienna, Blinken warned that the United States was the first victim and that the opioid crisis would spread to other countries. He therefore urged that the international struggle against synthetic drugs should be intensified. 151 states and twelve international organizations have joined the coalition so far.

Meeting with Nehhammer, Schallenberg and van der Bellen

UN In the city, Blinken also met International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Croce. He then went to the Ballhausplatz to confer with Chancellor Karl Nehhammer and Alexander Schallenberg. The Gaza crisis, the war in Ukraine and bilateral relations were on the agenda. The United States and Austria entered into a strategic partnership a few years ago. Raiffeisen businesses in Russia have been a thorn in the side of the Americans lately. Whether the topic should be discussed was initially a matter of speculation. Anyway, Blinken had a meeting with Federal President Alexander van der Bellen at the Hofburg.

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Blinken heading to the Middle East?

Blinken stayed at the Ringstrasse Hotel in Vienna. It was not initially known how long he would stay. According to his itinerary, his next scheduled stops are South Korea and the Philippines. The US Secretary of State is scheduled to attend the Democracy Summit in Seoul on Monday. Observers thought Blinken might make a flying visit to the Middle East this weekend.

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