BRINDISI: IT’S TIME TO GIVE FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT THE TECHNOLOGY THEY NEED TO STOP THE TRAFFICKING OF FENTANYL—THE DEADLY OPIOID LINKED TO A SPIKE IN DRUG OVERDOSES IN RECENT WEEKS IN THE MOHAWK VALLEY & OTHER AREAS
Congressman Urges Leaders of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee To Provide Full Funding For Scanners and Other Equipment, and Additional Personnel to Interdict Shipments of Fentanyl To The U.S.
Brindisi: “Opioid Addiction is Tearing Families Apart, in Upstate New York and Across the Country, and We Must Do More to Stop The Trafficking of These Deadly Drugs”
In an effort to stop a recent rise in drug overdoses, Congressman Anthony Brindisi says he is urging Congressional budget negotiators to fully fund efforts to stop the shipment of fentanyl and other deadly opioids into the United States.
The Oneida County Overdose Response Team recently issued an overdose spike alert, with 21 heroin overdoses resulting in five fatalities over a 10-day period. There have been 112 overdoses and 15 deaths in Oneida County since January 1, 2019.
An increase in overdoses was also reported in Broome County during the same time period. Law enforcement investigators are now investigating a possible shipment of contaminated fentanyl or other opioids into the region.
“Opioid addiction is tearing families apart in upstate New York and across the country, and we need to do more to stop the trafficking of these deadly drugs. I’ve asked Congressional budget negotiators to ensure the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has the funding it needs to stop these deadly drugs from entering the country,” said Congressman Brindisi.
“The unforgiving grip of opioid addiction continues to reach into our community and take the lives of those who have fallen prey to it. The District Attorney’s Office continues to work with our federal, state, local and community partners to identify the peddlers of these illicit and deadly substances, and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara.
“Many of the recent overdoses in our area involve the use of drugs containing fentanyl or other synthetic substances. Providing our customs and border patrol agents with the tools and technology they need to detect shipments of synthetic opioids would be a very important step in stopping the flow of these illegal substances into our communities,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert M. Maciol.
“I applaud Congressman Brindisi for his effort to assist the people of Oneida County in combating the opioid epidemic and strongly support his request of the House Appropriations Committee to fully fund the INTERDICT Act. As we have seen recently, the threat of overdose fatalities is ever present in our community, and providing our customs and border agents with the proper tools to stop the trafficking of fentanyl into the U.S. is paramount to safeguarding our residents,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr.
Last year, as a member of the New York State Assembly, Brindisi wrote to U.S. trade representatives, demanding that they get Chinese officials to do more to stop the production of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Last December, a new agreement was reached between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators to cut down on fentanyl trafficking into the U.S.
“It is good to see more cooperation from Chinese authorities to control fentanyl production, but we also need to ensure Customs and Border Patrol agents have the tools they need to stem the flow of fentanyl across our country’s border,” said Congressman Brindisi.
While data for 2018 is not yet complete, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. Of the 70,000 overdose deaths, more than 47,000 have been connected to fentanyl or other opioids.
Brindisi joined Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and other House members in a letter to House appropriators requesting federal budget negotiators fully fund the INTERDICT Act in the 2020 Fiscal Year appropriations process.
The INTERDICT Act was signed into law last year and authorizes Congress to spend $9 million to provide CBP with the latest in technology, as well as personnel and scientists, available during all operational hours, to prevent, detect, and interdict fentanyl.