Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) last night spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives about stopping the fentanyl crisis. He called on Congress and the Biden Administration to use all the tools at their disposal, including passing the HALT Fentanyl Act he has introduced with Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and finishing the southern border wall.
A transcript of Griffith’s remarks is below:
“Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
In 2020, my state of Virginia hit a tragic milestone. Fatal drug overdoses hit an all-time high of 2,309. Fentanyl and its analogs caused or contributed to 71.8 percent of those deaths. The statistics we have for 2021 indicate it may surpass that heartbreaking number of overdose deaths.
We have tools at our disposal to reduce the availability of illicit substances such as fentanyl and meth and in turn prevent overdose deaths, but they are not being used.
Cartels are taking components of fentanyl from China, manufacturing it in Mexico, and smuggling it across the border. In fiscal year 2021, fentanyl seizures by U.S. Customs and Border Protection increased by 134 percent. But the Biden Administration is weakening our country’s ability to secure its own border, allowing not only more illegal immigration but smuggling of deadly drugs.
Meanwhile, fentanyl-related substances have only temporarily been listed on a Schedule I drug, with extensions passed every few months, including today – we extended another three weeks – but not a permanent scheduling.
To correct this problem, I’ve introduced the HALT Fentanyl Act with Congressman Bob Latta of Ohio. It would permanently schedule fentanyl-related substances.
But our bill doesn’t stop there. It streamlines research on fentanyl analogues so we can better understand the effects of these substances.
At a recent hearing of the Subcommittee on Health, we heard testimony that there are as many as 4,800 fentanyl analogues. We have data on fewer than 30 of them – in other words, fewer than one percent of them.
Most of the fentanyl-related substances we have data on are dangerous, but some are inert and may even have properties that block opioid addiction. We simply need to know more, so our bill makes room for researchers, not just at federal agencies but across research institutions, to get to work.
I believe our bill would save lives. House Democrats should help us send it to the President’s desk.
But this bill alone will not solve the problem. It helps, but it will not solve the problem.
We have to use all the tools available to us.
We need to increase the number of border agents that we have, particularly at the southern border.
We need to give them the tools they need.
We need to give them more drones for electronic surveillance in the air.
We need to give them more dogs to help them figure out what’s going on, to sniff out the drugs when they can. It’s coming across in small amounts – here you see it. Two milligrams, lethal dose for most Americans. There it is compared to the penny. They need more dogs at the border.
They need more horses, because some of that terrain is not suitable for motor vehicles.
And last but not least, Mr. Speaker, we need to finish building the wall.
I yield back.”