WASHINGTON, D.C. — Every day, roughly 300 Americans lose their life to a drug overdose, about one life every five minutes. This week, the Biden Administration called on lawmakers to provide aid, saying Congress has no time to waste.
The Administration is asking lawmakers to deliver on the President’s emergency supplemental funding requests to provide more treatment and more tools to crack down on the flow of illicit drugs, like fentanyl.
Among the funding requests is $1.2 billion to combat the flow of fentanyl at the southern border. The dollars would help hire more border agents and install high-tech scanners that can detect fentanyl at ports of entry.
“Providing 123 new large-scale scanners that will help our law enforcement officials screen exponentially more vehicles and stop illicit drugs like fentanyl from coming into the country,” said Senator Bob Casey (D- PA).
Sen. Casey is calling on his colleagues to support the Biden’s requests and also believes lawmakers can go even further by passing legislation like the “Fend Off Fentanyl Act.”
“Which is a bipartisan bill to choke off the income sources of these chemical suppliers in China and the Mexican drug cartels that produce and bring fentanyl across the border,” said Casey.
Casey and White House officials are also pushing Congress to approve $1.5 billion in supplemental funding to help states and territories respond to the overdose crisis.
“As a doctor, I cannot underscore enough just how important these critical public health funds are,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Dr. Gupta says the $1.5 billion for state opioid response grants will help provide treatment and life-saving equipment like Naloxone.
“This means that states will be better equipped to expand access to treatment. This means that states will be able to keep building out their recovery support services, states will be able to have more overdose prevention measures in communities to prevent the loss of life,” said Dr. Gupta.
According to Dr. Gupta, states have purchased nine million overdose reversal medication kits using the grant dollars and have reversed over 500,000 overdoses.