Fentanyl flowing into US communities at fast rate, says US congressman

Fentanyl flowing into US communities at fast rate, says US congressman

More than 100,000 people killed in drug overdoses in the US in 2022, says House Committee chairman

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - Fentanyl is flowing into US communities at a fast rate and leading to historically high levels of drug overdose deaths, a Republican congressman said Thursday.

More than 100,000 people were killed in drug overdose death in the US in 2022, with the majority caused by fentanyl, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer said at a committee hearing.

“We must continue to conduct oversight over the U.S. Government’s efforts to prevent these tragedies. And must make sure programs are using the best available resources and targeting taxpayer funds where they will make the biggest impact,” he said.

He accused the Biden administration of being responsible for the border crisis, saying its policies “has diverted resources and manpower away from securing the border.”

Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said: “With an American dying every five minutes around the clock, we can't just focus on supply or just on demand.”

“We got to do both, because we cannot treat that people. So here's the bottom line: drug trafficking is a crime, and must be prosecuted and drug addiction is a disease that must be treated,” he said,​​​​​​​

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) said Thursday it would take steps to warn and educate people about an increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine.

“One of the most alarming issues with the increased use of xylazine and fentanyl is the fact that xylazine is not an opioid. This means naloxone (Narcan) will not reverse its effects, placing users at a higher risk of suffering a fatal drug poisoning,” ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said in a statement

Meanwhile, the US, Mexico and Canada released a statement Thursday after the second trilateral fentanyl committee meeting between US Homeland Security Advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Mexico’s Secretary of Security Rosa Icela Rodriguez and Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas

"The three co-chairs reaffirmed commitments to jointly confront the deadly scourge of synthetic drugs, and discussed the steps we are taking to fulfill them," said the statement.

"The three delegations committed to create an expert working group to identify challenges related to our respective legislative and regulatory frameworks associated with precursor chemicals, and related equipment. The three countries also committed to establishing an agile mechanism to promptly share emerging illegal drugs and drug trafficking trends," it added.

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