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Westerman Addresses Opioid Epidemic: “Taking Lives at a Staggering Rate”

June 26, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) spoke Tuesday (June 26) in the House of Representatives on the opioid epidemic, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports took more than 400 Arkansas lives in 2016.

In his speech, Westerman called for increased border security to stop the flow of a synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. He noted that 984 pounds of the drug had been seized at the border so far this fiscal year, enough lethal doses to kill half of the U.S. population.

Westerman’s speech (as prepared):

Mr. Speaker, our country is in crisis. The opioid epidemic is taking lives at a staggering rate. In my home state of Arkansas, more than 400 people lost their lives in 2016 and the numbers continue to climb.

As we seek solutions to this problem, we must be mindful of how enhancing our border security can stem the flow of opioids into our country. So far this fiscal year, Customs and Border Patrol agents have already seized 984 pounds of fentanyl. That’s enough lethal doses of this synthetic opioid to kill half of the entire U.S. population.

Sadly, our current environmental policies prevent the Border Patrol from doing their job. As we consider the multiple aspects of border security, we must keep in mind that it is directly tied to our opioid epidemic. Our Border Patrol not only needs a wall to shut down the drug cartels, it must be provided unhindered access with good roads regardless of the land use category.

Smart, scientific streaming of our environmental policies will stop the flow of illegal drugs and save lives.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back.