On Fox News’ Special Report, Portman Discusses Need to Address America’s Addiction Epidemic

July 1, 2022

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Portman Difference

Last night, US Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier to talk about the ongoing addiction epidemic that continues to sweep the nation, caused in large part by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, much of which is coming into the United States from across the border. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show that there were 107,622 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the US last year, the largest number ever recorded in a calendar year. Fentanyl is behind a majority of the deaths. Portman discussed what needs to be done to get the crisis under control, including tightening border security, strengthening prevention, treatment and recovery services, and educating the public about the dangers of these drugs.

A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.

PORTMAN ON THE AMOUNT OF FENTANYL COMING ACROSS THE BORDER

“We focus a lot on the border because of the people coming across and last month was the most illegal entries ever again as it was the previous month. What we don’t talk about so much is the fact that a lot of drugs are coming as well and sometimes with those individuals. So, we know last month that there were 1,100 pounds seized of fentanyl, that’s a record, by the way it just quadrupled in the last two years, doubled in the last year. That’s enough to kill 200 million Americans.”

PORTMAN ON STUDENTS FROM OHIO STATE WHO DIED OF OVERDOSES

“A few days before the Ohio State graduation, three students overdosed and died. It appears as though they were taking Adderall which is a study drug that young people take. They apparently bought these on the street. So, you know, it was very sad, because my talk was going to be more inspiring about the future, but I had to include in that the fact that to all the parents and all the students that were there, we cannot trust any drug , any street drug.”

PORTMAN ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO COMBAT THE DRUG CRISIS

“I think there are three obvious things to do. One is to tighten the border. The border problem is about contraband, not just people. Specifically, it’s about fentanyl – this opioid that is synthetic that is deadly, that’s causing about two-thirds of the overdose deaths in America. Second, we have to figure out a national message here that make sense to get out to people. I think it’s worth spending some money by the administration to do in national media campaign. We did it at one time. It was somewhat effective. Nancy Reagan was famous for that. But it’s a pretty obvious message right now, which simply is any drug that you can take can kill you. So it is being mixed in everything, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and so on, but even drugs again like antidepressants, Xanax and so on. So that message needs to get out and needs to get out urgently to save lives. Third, more prevention which is this message we are talking about. But also getting people in to treatment and longer-term recovery. So, it’s a combination of things, obviously, the other part of this which is not so much what we need to do but what the other countries need to do with our strong urging is China and Mexico need to clean up their act.”

PORTMAN ON BORDER PATROL RESOURCES BEING STRETCHED THIN AND THE NEED TO CLOSE THE BORDER

“They are distracted by a group on purpose, this is deliberate distraction, and then quietly you know, you see guys with backpacks actually running through the deserts who are carrying something. And the assumption from the border patrol that I talk to is that they think most of it is getting through. So I do think that tightening up the border makes sense.”

PORTMAN ON CHINA’S ROLE IN THE CRISIS

“I have always felt that China was being irresponsible in how they dealt with the issue. I went to China a few years ago and actually met with a Premier on this and made a strong pitch, saying again that this is in your interest too because there is leakage in China, people are dying from it. They would never acknowledge that, they won’t talk about that, but it hurts them too.”

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