Sen. Marshall Holds Social Media Giants Accountable for Role in Biden’s Fentanyl Crisis
(Washington, D.C., September 13, 2022) – Today U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. joined a group of his colleagues in an effort to hold the CEOs of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc., and YouTube accountable and demand answers on what they are doing to curb the drug epidemic created by President Biden’s southern border crisis and prevent the sale of fentanyl-laced pills to teenagers and young adults on their social media platforms.
“We write to you today regarding reports that the use of your social media platforms has been linked to the sale of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that have caused the deaths of teens and young adults across the country. In light of the devastating rise in drug overdose deaths in the U.S., especially linked to fentanyl, we are requesting more information regarding steps your companies are taking to protect children and crackdown on illegal drug sales on your platforms,”the Senators wrote.
“Social media platforms like yours provide a convenient venue for dealers to anonymously and discreetly peddle these counterfeit pills to a young audience. With 4 in 10 of these pills containing a lethal dose of fentanyl, more and more of these online transactions are ending in tragedy,”the Senators continued.
The letter was led by Senator Steve Daines (MT). In addition to Senator Marshall, the letter was also signed by Senators Mike Lee (UT), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Dan Sullivan (AK), James Lankford (OK), Bill Cassidy (LA) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS).
Read the full letter the Senators sent the social media CEOs HERE.
On August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, Senator Marshall released a video warning about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and social media where counterfeit or fake drugs are often purchased and laced with fentanyl. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the video.
Senator Marshall, along with Senators John Barrasso, M.D. (WY), John Boozman, O.D. (AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA), and Rand Paul M.D. (KY), recently released a public service announcement (PSA) warning about the dangers of illicit fentanyl that is wreaking havoc in communities throughout the nation and killing Americans at record rates. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the PSA.
Recently, Senator Marshall questioned federal officials on the Biden Administration’s response to the deadly fentanyl crisis wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the U.S. He said in part, “Kansas is literally at the crossroads of fentanyl trafficking… With three major arteries coming out of Mexico piercing the heart of my great state, and all 3 bisecting the nation’s busiest east-west byway, we are now ground zero… In Mexico, Chinese chemists and the cartels convert these precursors into fentanyl, and lace fake pills like Adderall, or Xanax, or Percocet, or mix with illicit drugs like meth and cocaine… Unfortunately, this is one supply chain from China that’s not broken… Dying from fentanyl is poisoning, not an overdose.” You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full opening remarks and line of questioning.
Recently, Senator Marshall questioned CDC Director Rochelle Walensky at a hearing about the illicit fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc across Kansas. The questions come on the heels of law enforcement officers in Kansas City, Kansas seizing nearly 15,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-day bust and Wichita officers seizing nearly 7,000 illegal fentanyl pills during a single traffic stop. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch his remarks and questioning.
Additionally, Senator Marshall announced support for the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act, legislation to expand pandemic-related Title 42 expedited removal authority to combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic resulting from drug smuggling across our southern border.
On National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Senator Marshall announced support for the HALT Fentanyl Act. The legislation would permanently give law enforcement the tools to help combat the fentanyl crisis by permanently placing fentanyl-related substances as a class into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule I controlled substance is a drug, substance, or chemical that has a high potential for abuse; has no currently accepted medical value; and is subject to regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act. Fentanyl-related substances’ current Schedule I classification is temporary and set to expire later this year.
In May, Senator Marshall and Kansas Sheriffs Calvin Hayden (Johnson County), Brian Hill (Shawnee County), Roger Soldan (Saline County), Jeff Richards (Franklin County), and Tim Morse (Jackson County) traveled to the Southern Border for briefings, tours, and meetings with border patrol officials, within DHS and the state of Texas. The trip came amid the pending expiration of Title 42 and the growing fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the nation. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a recap visit of their trip.
You may click HERE or on the collage below to download high-res photos from their trip.
Senator Marshall is a cosponsor of a Senate resolution to designate May 10, 2022 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The resolution supports the mission and goals of National Fentanyl Awareness Day in 2022, including increasing individual and public awareness of the impact of fake or counterfeit fentanyl-related substances on families and young people.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
- Kansas suffered a 54% increase in drug overdoses during the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
- Of the 338 people in Kansas who died of drug overdose between Jan. 1 and June 30 of last year – 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogs.
- Overdose deaths from fentanyl-related substances topped all other drug-related overdose deaths in Kansas in 2021
- In the first three months of 2022, Kansas saw more than 2,500 drug overdoses.
- While not on the Kansas side, the Kansas City Police Department announced that accidental overdoses from fentanyl-related substances had climbed nearly 150% from 2019 to 2020 in the metro area, particularly noticeable among ages 15 to 24. Last year, out of 129 overdoses, 50 were fentanyl-related.
- In May, Kansas City, Kansas officers seized nearly 15,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-day bust,
- In March, Wichita officers seized 7,000 fentanyl-related substance pills during a traffic stop.
- The Wichita Police Department also said that they recently worked five suspected overdose cases in a 24-hour period – two of those were juveniles.
- Nationwide, four in 10 pills examined by DEA labs contain a deadly amount of fentanyl-related substance, an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil.
- Since Joe Biden took office, nearly 14,000 pounds of fentanyl have been seized from criminals at the southern border – and a record 1,300 pounds were discovered just this past April – much more made it over the border undetected.
- 15,000lbs of fentanyl-related substances were seized in 2021 – enough to supply a potentially lethal dose to every member of the U.S. population.
- 64% of overdose deaths in the U.S. involved synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl-related substances.
- 4 out of 10 DEA-tested fake pills with fentanyl-related substances contain a potentially deadly dose.
- 12 month period ending in October 2021: 105,000 overdose deaths – 66% were due to fentanyl-related substances, synthetic opioids.
- Sedgwick County is on track to exceed 300 deaths from fentanyl for the year 2022. There were 242 fentanyl deaths in 2021.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are seizing record amounts of fentanyl and Meth in Arizona and Texas – in just five separate inspections ahead of the 2022 Labor Day weekend, officers seized 625,000 pills.