Every day in Ohio, sadly, there is new evidence of how the heroin and prescription drug crisis, and more specifically the crisis involving fentanyl, is having a devastating impact on individuals and families.  This impact is highlighted in a new NBC News story:

Fentanyl has already figured in 55 fatal drug overdoses in Columbus and surrounding Franklin County in January and February, the local coroner reported Friday.

“The headline is that this is almost half the total number of fentanyl-related deaths we logged all of last year,” Franklin County Coroner spokeswoman Tia Moretti told NBC News.

And at this “unprecedented” rate, Moretti said, Columbus is poised to rip up the local record book as a drug that has cut like a scythe through much of Ohio wreaks havoc on the buckle of the Buckeye State.

“This is killing us,” Moretti said.

In Centerville last week, there was also the shocking tragedy where two young daughters found their parents dead in their home from overdoses of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.

Last month, the U.S.-China Commission issued a disturbing new report on the influx into the United States of Chinese fentanyl – a synthetic form of heroin that can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and even 100 times more powerful than morphine.  Senator Portman has introduced bipartisan legislation – the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act – designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl from being shipped to drug traffickers in the United States. 

China and India have been cited as the primary source countries for illicitly produced fentanyl in the U.S.  Foreign-based companies take advantage of weaknesses in international mail security standards to break U.S. customs laws and regulations by shipping drugs directly through the U.S. postal system.  Unlike UPS or FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service does not require advance electronic customs data for the vast majority of mail entering the United States.  The STOP Act would require shipments from foreign countries through our postal system to provide electronic advance data—such as who and where it is coming from, who it’s going to, where it is going, and what’s in it—before they cross our borders and enter the United States.  Having this information in advance will enable Customs & Border Protection officials to better target potential illegal packages and keep these dangerous drugs from entering the U.S.

The STOP Act, which has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, will help make a difference in keeping these drugs out of our local communities.  For more information on the STOP Act, read the op-ed from Senator Portman and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on CNN.com at this link.

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