By Brandon Moseley

Drug overdose deaths are up substantially. One significant component of that is the increasing amounts of fentanyl being trafficked by the Mexican drug cartels across the southern border, according to Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL06). Palmer said that the fentanyl trade is a byproduct of the situation on the border with Mexico.

“Fentanyl trafficking has become a deadly byproduct of the crisis at our southern border, which puts our national security at risk in many ways,” Palmer said. “The crisis at our southern border is not only a disaster for law and order but for the very lives of Americans throughout the country. The amount of fentanyl smuggled across the border this year has been enough to kill every American seven times over. We must stop this scourge.”

Palmer said it is the responsibility of Congress to act and save lives.

“Congress can and must act to ensure law enforcement is equipped to keep fentanyl from overtaking our streets,” Palmer said. “I'll never forget sitting with a mom and dad right after they'd lost their son to a drug overdose. The fentanyl crisis, which is a tragic outgrowth of the current border crisis, has had devastating effects on families across the country. That's why we must do everything we can to keep fentanyl off the streets.”

According to a report by the Energy & Commerce Committee shared by Palmer.

  • Synthetic opioids — primarily fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances — accounted for nearly two-thirds of the drug overdose deaths in this country.

  • These dangerous drugs are being smuggled across our southern border and are also coming from China. Along parts of the southern border, federal agents have reported a 4,000% increase in fentanyl seizures over the last three years.

  • Drug overdoses are killing a record number of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 100,306 people died from May 2020 to April 2021. This is a nearly 30% increase in overdoses from the same period the year before.

  • Fentanyl is easier to produce than cocaine or heroin – it only takes a few hours to make – and is up to 20 times more profitable. Since small doses of fentanyl create intense effects, it’s easier to illegally smuggle small batches across the border.

  • Criminal drug cartels are flooding the U.S. with counterfeit pills. More counterfeit pills have been seized so far in 2021 than the previous two years combined, with two out of every five pills containing a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

In many cases, the person who becomes addicted to fentanyl does not know what they are taking. They purchase cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or even marijuana from a street dealer looking to get high and suddenly are taking something far more dangerous, that is much more addictive. In some cases, the victim does not even know they are dealing with a drug dealer but have been conned into thinking that they have found a cheaper source for their high-cost prescription drugs. Instead, they have taken a fake medication that potentially could kill them.

Palmer is in favor of getting control of the southern border,

“Congress needs to make permanent an emergency class-wide scheduling order for fentanyl-related substances,” Palmer added.

Gary Palmer is in his fourth term representing Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

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