US Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is vowing to keep the pressure on the Biden administration to address the opioid crisis head-on by working more aggressively with Mexico and China to stop drug trafficking, and by urging a greater awareness campaign by the federal government about fentanyl-laced “fake pills,” which are killing Americans at record rates.
The U.S. surpassed 100,000 overdose deaths in one year between April 2020 and April 2021, marking a terrible new milestone in American history. In addition, in October alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a 42% increase in the seizure of the most deadly opioid, fentanyl.
The Biden administration has come under criticism by Portman, and other lawmakers, for seemingly putting the opioid crisis on the back burner during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the staggering number of overdose deaths.
Portman said. “When you have a hundred thousand deaths, there’s a lot of other collateral damage. It’s not just about people dying, but it’s about people losing their way in life.”
Portman, who has been leading the charge in Congress against the opioid crisis for decades, stressed the importance of a three-pronged approach to tackling the epidemic that the Biden administration should immediately begin implementing: stopping supply into the U.S. through the border, prevention, including ramping up awareness campaigns, and treatment and recovery efforts.
The senator explained that previously, China would send fentanyl into the U.S. directly through the mail, but after the passage of the bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act in 2018, which increased drug detection methods, the country has scaled back that method of entry and is now sending fentanyl precursors into Mexico and India to be developed and then trafficked into the U.S.
Source: El Financiero