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Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Thursday blamed China and Mexico for the record number of fentanyl deaths in the United States and called for increased border security to stop the transport of the synthetic opioid that has claimed the lives of thousands of people in the United States.
Portman joined “Special Report” Thursday as part of the show’s new series that highlights “the poisoning of America” caused by the flow of fentanyl into the country.
“We focus a lot on the border because of the people crossing and last month was again the most illegal entries like the month before, but what we don’t talk about as much is the fact that a lot of drugs are also coming,” Portman, who is a senior member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told TBEN News host Bret Baier.
Border Patrol agents seized 1,100 pounds of fentanyl last month, enough to kill an estimated 200 million Americans, Portman said.
The fentanyl devastation hit close to home for the senator, who was about to deliver a commencement speech at Ohio State University last month when he was told three students were died from an Adderall pill they bought on the street that contained fentanyl.
“It was very sad, because my speech was going to be more inspiring about the future, but I had to include the fact that for all the parents and all the students who were there, you can’t trust any drugs, any street drug.” Portman said.
Asked if there is an imminent solution to prevent the death toll from rising, Portman outlined “three obvious steps” to reduce overdoses in the United States.
“The first is to tighten the border,” he said. “This border issue is about smuggling, it’s not just about people. Specifically, it’s about this opioid, which is synthetic, which is deadly, and which causes about two-thirds of opioid-related deaths in America.
Portman also encouraged the White House to invest in a national media campaign to educate parents and teens about the dangers associated with fentanyl and illicit drugs.
“I think it’s worth spending some administration money to do a national media campaign,” he said. “We did it at one point and it was pretty effective, Nancy Reagan was famous for it, but it’s a pretty obvious message which is just that any drug you can take can kill you.”
“It’s mixed with everything, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, but even antidepressants, Xanax, etc. So the message that you can and must get across urgently to save lives,” he said .
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China remains the world’s top source of fentanyl, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Two techniques are used to deliver the drug to the United States. It either ships to the United States. directly by international courier or shipped via Mexico. Portman said he had “always felt that China was irresponsible in the way it dealt with the problem” and called on other countries to put pressure on China and Mexico to “clean up their act”.
Senator Portman’s message warns parents and teens about fentanyl’s silent killer: “Any drug you take can kill you” appeared first on TBEN News.