Tester States Importance Of Cracking Down On Fentanyl
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., stressed his priority of slowing down fentanyl trafficking during a conference call with Montana media members on Thursday, Nov. 17.
The Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act would provide $20 million to: Develop new technology to target and detect fentanyl being trafficked into the United States; Enhance targeting of counterfeit pills and illicit pill presses through non-intrusive and other visual screening technologies; and Strengthen data-driven targeting to increase seizure rates of fentanyl.
Tester noted that drug abuse destroys families and communities. Impacts to communities include increases in crime and domestic abuse.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen have each expressed concerns and their commitment to decreasing fentanyl abuse throughout the state. Knudsen has asked President Biden to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.
Tester said it will take a united effort to decrease drug abuse in Montana and throughout the country.
“It’s not a red or blue issue, it’s an American issue,” Tester noted. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Tester was joined by U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and U.S. Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-2), and Patrick Ryan (D-NY-19) in a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Armed Services Committees.
“As leaders of the bipartisan Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act, we strongly believe the bipartisan bill would strengthen our nation’s response to illicit fentanyl entering through our borders and causing a tragic rise in fatal overdoses,” wrote the bipartisan group of lawmakers. “Overdose deaths in the United States, particularly due to fentanyl poisoning, continue to rise and pose a grave threat to our communities. Approximately twothirds of overdose deaths last year involved synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, a figure that has been dramatically rising.” Tester led the bipartisan PREVENTS Act to require CBP to purchase containment devices for all frontline border patrol agents and provide training for their effective use in order to ensure they have the tools they need safely store fentanyl and other narcotics and to prevent CBP agents from secondary exposure.
During the call, Tester said he hopes that the recent election results make people realize that people are tired of the bickering between the two political parties.
Tester will continue to work to increase veterans’ benefits and improve meat processing opportunities. Other top concerns include housing opportunities in rural communities, workforce training and childcare costs.