Implementing a new law to punish traffickers of fentanyl and declaring deaths from the drug as a health crisis could curb the damage it is doing to the country.
The Epoch Times spoke to Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) about the growing fentanyl crisis in the United States. The Republican lawmaker represents Louisiana’s 3rd congressional district, which includes Lafayette Parish. According to the local coroner, there were 32 drug-related deaths in 2015, and fentanyl was not associated with any of them. However, by 2021, the number of deaths rose to 136 and fentanyl was responsible for 101.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fentanyl is the driving force of a deadly nationwide epidemic. Preliminary data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that fentanyl was involved in 77 percent of overdose deaths in the United States in 2021, accounting for about 71,000 deaths.
“The fentanyl crisis the country is facing right now must be confronted at the local, state, and federal level,” Higgins said.
The country has to start working together, he said, adding that the nation needs to confront the border crisis and influx of fentanyl “without abusing law enforcement jurisdictional authority, without abusing sovereignty, [and] without abusing rights.”
“It all has to be done while operating within the parameters of the law and the Constitution,” said Higgins. Fentanyl trafficking, in particular, must be “attacked passionately and aggressively,” he added.