WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders sent letters today to three federal agencies regarding the shipment of fentanyl and its analogues from China, and the trafficking of fentanyl and its analogues over the Southwest border by Mexican cartels into the United States.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine, has been labeled as the leading cause of opioid overdoses. It is easy and cheap to illicitly manufacture and has been appearing in communities across the country.
The letters were sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They were signed by: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX).
In all three letters, the bipartisan leaders write, “A fatal dose of fentanyl is smaller than the size of Abraham Lincoln’s face on a penny. Earlier this year, [you as] the Secretary of Homeland Security determined that pharmaceutical-based agents, such as fentanyl, presented a material threat against the United States population sufficient to affect national security.”
Each agency received unique questions from the bipartisan committee leaders.
In the letter to DHS, the leaders pose questions about efforts to improve field training and use of protective gear for individuals involved in drug interdiction, as well as efforts to develop rapid field tests for first responders to use on site.
In the letter to DOS, the leaders pose questions about recent and ongoing conversations with China, Mexico, and Canada, as well as with international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other foreign governments regarding the trafficking of fentanyl.
In the letter to DEA, the leaders pose questions about the trends in fentanyl analogues being transported from Mexico, China, and any other major sources of fentanyl analogues, and connections between fentanyl and Mexican drug cartels.
For more information about Energy and Commerce’s comprehensive efforts to combat the opioid crisis, click HERE.
Click HERE to read the letters.