Fentanyl is poisoning and killing 300 Americans every single day. There are 11,000 illegal crossings at our southern border every single day. These are not talking points – it’s a record-breaking reality that’s hurting American families across the country.
This epidemic surged in the first year of the Biden administration, as fentanyl overdoses became the leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 45. And by April of this year alone, more fentanyl had come across the border compared to all of 2021 or 2022. These historic numbers only seem to be growing, and it is past time the White House start taking this issue – this crisis – seriously.
I’m committed to doing everything in my power to give our communities the protection they deserve from this epidemic. Earlier this year, the House passed the HALT Fentanyl Act, which will authorize the Drug Enforcement Administration to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as a Schedule I narcotic. This would provide law enforcement agencies the authority they need to help put an end to the drug trafficking that has turned every city into a border city.
My dear friend and constituent of the 27th District, Jaime Puerta, also visited me this week in Washington, D.C. Jaime tragically lost his 16-year-old son to a fentanyl poisoning – not an overdose, but a poisoning, as he unknowingly took fentanyl that was purchased over social media. Jaime is now the president of Victims of Illicit Drug Use, a California nonprofit dedicated to educating parents and children about the dangers of both drugs and social media.
It’s been my honor to work with Jaime on a critical piece of legislation, H.R. 6144, the Combatting Fentanyl Poisonings Act, which I introduced earlier this month. This bill 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 who traffic over social media 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.
I also introduced H. Res. 830, a resolution condemning China for its role in the fentanyl crisis. The Chinese Communist Party has an outsized role in fueling this epidemic, as they’re the world’s largest producer of illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and their immediate precursors. Some reports estimate China is responsible for over 90% of the illicit fentanyl found in the United States. My resolution both sends them a strong message and urges the White House to more actively hold the CCP accountable.
These are bipartisan solutions to a crisis that’s impacting families not only in our communities, but also nationwide. Let’s do more to support our local law enforcement, including charging with murder those who illegally deal fentanyl that leads to death. Let’s do more to educate our kids on the dangers of illicit drugs, including those difficult but important conversations with our kids at the dinner table. And let’s do more to hold accountable those responsible for the intense acceleration of this epidemic.
There is much work ahead of us, but these common-sense bills are a great first step toward making our communities a safer place for our kids.
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, represents the 27th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.