Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) called on CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to take action on the fentanyl crisis, saying that she is currently “turning her back” on the epidemic.
Sen. Marshall questioned CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, asking what actions are being taken to fight back against the fentanyl crisis.
During the questioning, Walensky stated that she’s had conversations with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about declaring the fentanyl crisis a public health emergency, though she didn’t say whether or not she has recommended such a declaration.
Senator Marshall asked “One or two people have died with monkeypox in the United States… but everyday hundreds of Americans die from fentanyl poisoning… Why have you not declared this a public health emergency?”
He went on to inquire, “Why have you not asked the Administration to shut down the border where 90% of this fentanyl comes from?” in reference to our Southern border. He also pointed out the shocking fact that “more Americans have died from fentanyl poisoning than we lost in Vietnam.”
Senator Marshall’s questions took place at a hearing titled, “Stopping the Spread of Monkeypox: Examining the Federal Response.”
A press release from Senator Marshall’s office noted that the Biden administration has taken swift and drastic action to fight monkeypox.
“The Biden Administration has National Monkeypox Response Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator, declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency, and sent a $47 billion emergency funding request to Congress,” the release reads. It goes on to say that the emergency funding “includes $3.9 billion for monkeypox vaccines, therapeutics, testing, and operational support, as well as funds to help combat the spread globally.”
The press release contrasted the Biden administration’s response to Monkeypox with their response to fentanyl, which the release noted “is killing more than 100 people each day and is the leading cause of death for Americans 18-45.”
Nearly 14,000 pounds of fentanyl have been seized at the Southern border since Biden took office.
In a previous hearing, Marshall asked Walensky if she would consider using Title 42, a measure that can be used to restrict immigration in the event of a public health crisis, to stop the flow of fentanyl into America. Instead, Walensky pivoted and discussed the role of Title 42 as it pertains to Covid-19.
In addition, Marshall also announced his support for the HALT Fentanyl Act, which would permanently mark fentanyl-related substances as a class into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, thereby empowering law enforcement in the fight against the deadly drug.
Senator Marshall has taken numerous steps to fight back against the fentanyl crisis.
Marshall announced his support of the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossing Act, which would expand Title 42 removal authority in an attempt to crack down on drug smuggling. Marshall has also released a public service announcement and a video warning that “one pill can kill.”
On International Overdose Awareness Day, I want parents to understand the challenges out there: your children, through social media, including Snapchat, are able to purchase one tablet of fentanyl. Just one pill can kill. pic.twitter.com/oVGVtrrANm
— Dr. Roger Marshall (@RogerMarshallMD) August 31, 2022
Marshall also joined seven other Senators in sending a letter to the CEO’s of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc, and YouTube inquiring as to the steps that the platforms are taking to ensure that illicit drugs are not sold on their sites.