Abbott launches campaign to fight fentanyl crisis

Border Report

(NewsNation) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched a new “One Pill Kills” campaign in an effort to combat the deadly fentanyl crisis and make the overdose drug Narcan more readily available.

The announcement comes as the governor declared the drug cartels as “terrorist organizations” last month, alleging the criminal groups are bringing these deadly drugs over the border.

“Fentanyl’s potency and deceptiveness, combined with the federal government’s unwillingness to take border security seriously, pose a grave threat to Texans,” Abbott wrote in a letter to state agency leaders in September. “We must take all appropriate actions to inform Texans of this danger and prevent additional deaths. Together we can help bring awareness to the threat posed by fentanyl and do our part to address this crisis.”

There has been an 89% increase in fentanyl-related deaths reported in Texas in 2021 compared to 2020, according to a press release released by Abbott’s office last month.

The CDC says that fentanyl is the number one killer of adults ages 18 to 45, and says more than 75,000 people died of fentanyl-related overdoses between February 2021 and February 2022.

Abbott announced that he wants Texas state funding to make Narcan more readily available to law enforcement, hospitals, workplaces, schools and beyond. He also wants a few new state laws to classify a fentanyl overdose as a “poisoning” instead of an “overdose,” because he says there are so many people who take their medication who do not know that it is laced with the deadly drug.

In August alone, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents seized a record 2200 pounds of fentanyl.

The governor is calling on President Joe Biden to also define the drug cartels as “terrorist organizations.”

Alaska Democrat U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola has spoken about the fentanyl crisis, as well. Her state saw a 71% increase in fentanyl deaths from 2020 to 2021.

“We need to crack down on this. We need to take this very seriously. There is no family that is untouched by this,” Peltola said.

While some lawmakers have suggested cracking down on drug dealers by charging them with manslaughter, Peltola said she’s not ready to announce her stance on that idea but said it’s worth considering.

In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it would be making naloxone, also known as Narcan, available at all K-12 schools following the overdose deaths of seven California teenagers linked to pills likely laced with fentanyl.

“We have an urgent crisis on our hands,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Research shows that the availability of naloxone along with overdose education is effective at decreasing overdoses and death — and will save lives. We will do everything in our power to ensure that not another student in our community is a victim of the growing opioid epidemic.”

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