ICYMI: Portman to Fox News: Biden Admin Must Do More to Stop Flow of Fentanyl into US, Combat Addiction Crisis
In an interview with Fox News’ Kelly Laco, Senator Portman discussed, in detail, the worsening drug and addiction crisis in the United States. Portman highlighted that the failure of the Biden administration to control our southern border has resulted in record levels of deadly fentanyl coming into our country, leading to more American lives lost and families devastated, and contributing to the strength of Mexican transnational criminal organizations. Earlier this month, Portman released a statement on the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) operational statistics ,which show a 42 percent increase in fentanyl seizures at the southern border from September to October. Recently, the CDC released preliminary data showing that from April 2020 to April 2021, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose to a record more than 100,000.
Portman has led the charge in the Senate in working to create legislation to combat this surge in deadly synthetic opioids, like fentanyl. In 2018, his bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act became law. The STOP Act helps to reduce the supply of fentanyl shipped into the United States through the U.S. Postal Service by requiring advance electronic data (AED) on all inbound international packages. As then Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), Portman conducted an 18-month investigation and released a stunning bipartisan report detailing how drug traffickers exploit vulnerabilities in our international mail system to easily ship synthetic drugs like fentanyl from China into the United States through the U.S. Postal Service.
During his time in Congress, Portman has also spearheaded efforts to combat drug abuse, authoring in 1997 the Drug-Free Communities Act, which supports evidence-based, community-oriented drug prevention programs, and co-authoring the landmark Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) in 2016, which bolster evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
Excerpts can be found below and the article in its entirety can be accessed here.
Kelly Laco | Fox News | December 8, 2021
“EXCLUSIVE: Sen. 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.
“In an exclusive interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Portman said. ‘When you have a hundred thousand deaths, there's a lot of other collateral damage. It's not 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.”
“Portman said the discussion on stopping the flow of fentanyl, "ought to be at the top of the list during any bilateral discussions" since the U.S. knows China is still sending illegal fentanyl into the United States and giving the chemical ingredients to Mexico to manufacture the drugs.
“‘The point I would make to the Chinese officials is…'you're killing my constituents,'’ continued Portman.”
“However, despite Biden's pledge to reduce the supply of opioids in the U.S., Portman said that the Biden administration could work more closely with his office and others on Capitol Hill on the many bills they have prepared to make fentanyl illegal, by permanently scheduling the drug and its analogues as a Schedule I substance. The senator said the administration keeps kicking the permanent scheduling down the road, which makes it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs.
“The temporary scheduling of all fentanyl-related substances, which was a policy enacted under the Trump administration, expires on Jan. 28, 2022.”