Garcia introduces two bills to combat fentanyl crisis

Politics and government

News release 

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, has introduced two bills intended to help address the fentanyl crisis. 

According to a news release from Garcia’s office, the congressman has introduced the Combatting Fentanyl Poisonings Act and the “Resolution Condemning China for their Role in the Fentanyl Crisis.”  

“These complementary bills work to identify the root cause of this epidemic, send China a clear message, and provide state and local law enforcement with the resources they so desperately need,” the release said. 

“This epidemic demands immediate, substantive action,” Garcia said in the release. “Over 80,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2021 alone, and every day that list grows in American lives lost and families broken.” 

Last year, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, there were over 80 fentanyl-related deaths in the Santa Clarita, Lancaster and Palmdale areas – the most in all of L.A. County. 

“As a community, we cannot passively accept such tragic and considerable loss of life. My resolution will send a clear message to China – one the White House refuses to send themselves: The (Chinese Communist Party) will be held accountable for its outsized role in fueling this epidemic,” Garcia added. “And my legislation will establish grant programs with a clear mission: Help law enforcement arrest fentanyl dealers who target our youth; and educate our kids about the dangers of fentanyl. We have a long road ahead, but this legislative action is an important step towards overcoming this national suffering.” 

The “Resolution Condemning China for their Role in the Fentanyl Crisis” condemns the Chinese Communist Party for its role in fueling America’s fentanyl crisis and calls on the White House to hold the CCP accountable.  

The Combatting Fentanyl Poisonings Act establishes two separate grant programs to assist law enforcement and educate youth. The first grant program authorizes $10 million to go to state and local law enforcement agencies to better target illegal fentanyl dealers and train school personnel, clinicians and the general public on how to prevent poisonings. The second grant program authorizes $2 million to go to nonprofits focused on educating children about the dangers of fentanyl. 

Garcia’s legislation is endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, Peace Officers Research Association of California, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and Victims of Illicit Drugs. 

“The fentanyl epidemic is running rampant across the country and infiltrating our communities affecting those that are most vulnerable, our youth and opioid-addicted individuals,” ALADS President Richard Pippin said in the release. “We don’t have to look far to see what this epidemic is doing to our neighborhoods. We have countless overdose cases seen locally in Los Angeles County, from incidents registered at our Metro rails system, where we hear the now very common stories of passengers overdosing and in need of Narcan administration, to the exposure and easy access our teens have to it through the use of social media, and to the accidental and fatal exposure of innocent victims who fall prey to this drug. The opioid crisis needs immediate attention not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local levels. We thank [Congressman Garcia] for creating a program that will directly benefit our local communities and law enforcement efforts to combat it … ALADS strongly supports the Combating the Fentanyl Poisoning Act.”  

“The spread of fentanyl in our communities is devastating,” Bill Johnson, executive director of National Association of Police Organizations, said in the release. “It is being mixed with already deadly illicit drugs, hidden in counterfeit drugs, and being peddled at alarmingly high rates to our youth through social media. The Combatting Fentanyl Poisonings Act focuses on the deadly impact this poison has on our nation’s youth by providing resources to law enforcement, schools, families and victims to combat and deter sales of fentanyl on social media and to educate communities on the dangers of this illicit drug. With 77% of teen overdose deaths in 2021 linked to fentanyl, the time to act to protect our children is now. NAPO supports this important bill and thanks Congressman Garcia for his advocacy and leadership.” 

“I’m pleased to see Congress taking action to address the devastating impact of fentanyl, especially on our youth. The Combatting Fentanyl Poisonings Act will provide critical funding to law enforcement as they work to remove deadly fentanyl dealers from our communities,” Brian R. Marvel, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, said in the release. “It will also fund essential education programs to ensure children and families understand the lethal dangers of fentanyl and how to seek help in an emergency. By targeting the supply of illicit fentanyl and raising awareness, this legislation has the potential to save many young lives. I thank Congressman Garcia for his leadership on this important issue and urge swift passage of this lifesaving measure.” 

“The ability to effectively spread awareness surrounding the fatal potential of illicit fentanyl, hinges on the ability in funding its efforts. The availability of grant funding, not typically afforded to organizations like VOID, would dramatically enhance their ability to further spread its life-saving message,” VOID Secretary Steve Filson said in the release. 

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