The use of Fentanyl in illicit drugs like Heroin and Cocaine has caused a drug overdose epidemic across the country, which is why years ago lawmakers banded together to address the growing crisis. In a House Health Subcommittee hearing held this week, Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) detailed the threat of fentanyl in his community, informing that 48 people in one county in his district have passed away since January from an overdose. Moreover, the Florida lawmaker warned that this problem could be worsened if Congress allows the current fentanyl ban to expire on May 6th, 2021.
In a statement, Bilirakis, who was recently named the “most effective Republican in the House,” argued that “it is shocking that so many members of our community have been lost since January,” adding that “we know a significant number of those deaths were related to the presence of fentanyl.”
“If the current ban expires, we can expect more dangerous drugs will flood our streets and more people will die,” he asserted, calling on Congress to answer the concern because “we cannot allow that to happen.”
In introducing the FIGHT Fentanyl Act, Bilirakis is aiming to permanently ban fentanyl, and he wants members of Congress to expedite the passage of the bill.
Bilirakis has been involved in fentanyl-related issues dating back to 2016, and in 2017, Bilirakis announced that the state of Florida had been provided with $27 million in grants to fight the opioid crisis.
The Health Subcommittee is currently reviewing proposals to tackle the growing addiction crisis, calling the concern a bipartisan issue.