Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on the Biden administration to take action on the nation’s drug overdose deaths which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, hit a new record high in 2020.
“93,000 people died of opioid overdoses last year,” Grassley says. “That’s a 30% increase from the previous year, so it’s a real problem.”
Grassley, a Republican, says the administration “isn’t serious” about working with Congress to find solutions to the massive amounts of extremely lethal drugs that are being smuggled into the U.S.
“China is sending its fentanyl to Mexico and it’s coming across the border, just like all the illegal aliens are coming across the border and in historically high numbers,” Grassley says. “There’s enough fentanyl coming into the country to kill everybody in the United States ten times over.”
Grassley is scheduled to take part in a Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control hearing this afternoon at 1:30/Central entitled, “The Federal Response to the Drug Overdose Epidemic.” He says it’s very difficult to write legislation that specifies what sorts of drugs need to be more closely regulated or banned.
“Let’s say we make a drug illegal today. Through chemical components, they can change it just a little bit and the next day it can be legal,” Grassley says. “We need to make sure that the analog is part of the program so we can outlaw any deviation from what you might call pure fentanyl.”
As bad as the overdose death rates are, Grassley says they will likely continue to rise without immediate intervention by the president and Congress. He’s calling on Biden to create “a coordinated national strategy” to address the “overdose crisis.”