Click here to watch the segment titled, “Opioid crisis spreading, now impacting more African Americans”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Combating the opioid crisis continues to be a top priority across the country, specifically when it comes to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is also the leading cause of opioid overdose deaths.
In a recent Today segment, Jacob Soboroff went inside the opioid epidemic in Baltimore and showed where the synthetic drug is is having the most devastating impact. Baltimore is just one of many examples of cities suffering from opioid addiction and fentanyl overdoses. While the city has been battling opioid overdoses for decades, the introduction of fentanyl in the community has caused a surge in overdoses with over 700 deaths last year – almost three times as many as 2015.
This underscores the need for Congress to take action to fight America’s fentanyl crisis. Last year, the House passed the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017, authored by Rep. John Katko (R-NY), by a strong bipartisan vote of 239-142, but it failed to be considered in the Senate due to Democratic objections.
This bill would have given law enforcement the tools they need to help get illicit synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, off our streets without compromising important public health and research protections. While Congress made great strides in the fight against opioids last year with the passage of H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, it’s clear there’s more to be done to combat this evolving crisis.