The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee asked a Biden administrator to explain the White House strategy for combating the opioid crisis during Tuesday’s hearing.
More than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, up from 93,000 in 2020, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. More than 1,100 teenagers died of overdoses that year, with experts attributing the sharp jump in deaths to the increased prevalence of fentanyl. Several studies showed that overdose deaths spiked amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with observers arguing that isolation and job loss attributed to the virus and lockdowns caused many drug users to relapse.
“Deaths from fentanyl among teenagers tripled from 2019-2021,” Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan said, noting that in many overdose cases, drug users consumed a non-opioid laced with fentanyl. The Office of National Drug Control Policy Kemp Chester attributed teens’ overdoses to social media and the dark internet. The U.S. He stated that the U.S. Postal Service will be looking to improve its monitoring of packages that could contain drug shipments.
Senators from both parties expressed concern about the Biden administration’s failure to secure ports of entry. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have seized 8,425 pounds of fentanyl in Fiscal Year 2022, and 504,000 pounds of drugs overall. (RELATED: ‘Largest Seizure In History’: Mexican Authorities Seize Enough Fentanyl To Kill Hundreds Of Millions)
“If the U.S. wants to be serious about stopping the flow of illicit substances into the U.S., we must remember there’s a southern border and a northern border. There are two water borders. When you look down, you will see the Gulf of Mexico and our water ports. Ben Ray Lujan, Democratic New Mexico Senator said that airports should not be forgotten.
All of us should be concerned about the screening or inaction at our ports. He said that the screening of passengers into the southern border has improved from five to six percent, or even six percent.
“Since 2021, January, 3.2 million migrants have crossed the border illegally. We’ve intercepted 1.2 million pounds of illegal drugs, over 16,000 pounds of fentanyl. This is approximately 3.7 million lethal doses entering the country. “Could kill the population 10 times more,” said Republican Indiana Senator Mike Braun.
Are you sure that what we are doing is aggravating this problem? Or just encouraging it more in proportion to what was before the Biden administration. Chester asked Chester if he was seeing any progress. Chester acknowledged that drug seizures have increased but said that they would not be found in their communities .”
” “What you describe very well is the result of a global enterprise driven by profit and is focused to find vulnerabilities and increase their customer base to make as many money as possible with reduced risks.” he replied.