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Walberg Continues Commitment to Combat Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic

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Washington, December 14, 2015 | comments

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07), a member of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, added his support to another piece of bipartisan legislation to combat the growing heroin and prescription opioid epidemic. The Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act, introduced by Reps. Tom Rooney (R-FL) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), would toughen trafficking penalties for fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic drug 50 times more potent than heroin that has become increasingly prevalent in drug overdose deaths.

H.R. 4183 would reduce the threshold of fentanyl needed—from 400 grams to 20 grams—to invoke the most serious trafficking penalties for an individual distributing and manufacturing the drug, bringing it into parity with heroin-related penalties. Drug traffickers are also mixing heroin with fentanyl to increase its potency, which has contributed to overdose deaths in Jackson CountyMonroe CountyWashtenaw County, and more counties across Michigan. 

“Tragic stories of prescription drug abuse and fatal overdoses hit close to home in far too many Michigan communities. As local and state officials work on the front lines to address this epidemic, the federal government must be an active partner in developing a robust strategy. This bipartisan bill targeting traffickers of fentanyl is another important step in the larger effort to keep drugs off our streets and expand access to treatment options for this public health crisis,” said Walberg.

Walberg has been actively meeting with coalition groupslaw enforcement officials, and other community stakeholders to foster awareness, develop best practices, and promote collaboration to address problems associated with heroin and prescription drug addiction.  

During a recent Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Walberg questioned Director Michael Botticelli of the Office of National Drug Control Policy about the agency’s efforts to address this growing epidemic in Monroe County and across Michigan’s 7th District. Click here to watch the video.

Additional bipartisan actions taken this year to combat heroin and prescription drug abuse include:

  • Speaking on the House floor in support of funding for funding for local and state law enforcement to tackle issues like heroin and other abused substances.
  • Cosponsoring H.R.2805, which would create a federal task force to develop strategies to fight heroin and opioid abuse.
  • Supporting H.R.1725, which provides states grant funding to fight growing prescription drug abuse.
  • Supporting S.799, Protecting Our Infants Act, which addresses the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and infants suffering from opioid withdrawal. It was signed into law by President Obama in November.
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