First responders across America put themselves in harm’s way every day doing the toughest job. This danger has increased over recent years as the opioid crisis has dramatically worsened, exposing law enforcement and first responders more and more to dangerous drugs like fentanyl every day.
As the recent report on importation and the opioid crisis from former FBI Director Louis Freeh shows, allowing drug importation would endanger law enforcement and first responders by creating more pathways for fentanyl and its analogues to enter the U.S. and diverting critical investigatory resources.
We applaud the National Sheriffs’ Association for standing up for their safety in the resolution they passed at their national conference opposing pending drug importation proposals. We urge you to read their resolution below.
NATIONAL SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION OPPOSES LEGISLATION ON DRUG IMPORTATION
WHEREAS, the number of unintentional overdose deaths from America’s Opioids crisis has drastically risen to an estimated 50,000 overdose deaths in 2016;1 and
WHEREAS, the DEA has seen a sharp increase in incidents of death and overdose from counterfeit prescription drugs containing fentanyl reaching the United States through Canada and Mexico;2 and
WHEREAS, law enforcement has now seen fentanyl in counterfeit prescription opioid medications, as well as in anti-anxiety medicines with deadly results;3 and
WHEREAS, even exposure to minimal amounts (approximately 2 milligrams) of Fentanyl can endanger the health and safety of law enforcement officers and their K-9 companions, as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has repeatedly warned and publicized;4 and
WHEREAS, a recent report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh has concluded that drug importation proposals would open the U.S. drug supply to illegitimate products, adulterated and counterfeit drugs;5 and
WHEREAS, drug importation would worsen the opioid crisis, jeopardize the integrity and safety of the pharmaceutical supply chain in the United States, further burden law enforcement and endanger law enforcement officer and first responder safety;6 and
WHEREAS, the National Sheriffs’ Association is concerned with the welfare of citizens and desires to preserve the rights of citizens to live and work in communities that are not subjected to the adverse economic, social, and public health effects of prescription drug abuse; and
WHEREAS, the National Sheriffs’ Association is concerned about the safety of law enforcement officers, their K-9 companions and first responder personnel; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Sheriffs’ Association opposes the passage of legislative drug importation proposals, which if implemented, would jeopardize law enforcement’s ability to protect the public health, threaten the safety of our drug supply and endanger the safety of law enforcement officers, their K-9 companions and first responders across America.
1 Chicago Tribune, “More than 50,000 Overdose Deaths: A Grim Tally Soars to All‐Time U.S. High,” Dec 8, 2016, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-us-overdose-deaths-20161208-story.html
2 Drug Enforcement Administration, “Counterfeit Prescription Pills Containing Fentanyls: A Global Threat,” July 2016, available at https://www.dea.gov/docs/Counterfeit%20Prescription%20Pills.pdf
3 U.S. News and World Report, “32 Deaths in Metro Phoenix Attributed to Counterfeit Pills,” Mar 21, 2017, available at https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/arizona/articles/2017-03-21/32-deaths-in-metro-phoenix-attributed-to-counterfeit-pills
4 Drug Enforcement Administration Public Affairs Press Release, “DEA Warning to Police and Public: Fentanyl Exposure Kills,” available at https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/DEA%20Fentanyl.pdf; DEA PSA video accessible at https://www.dea.gov/video_clips/Fentanyl%20Roll%20Call%20Video.mp4
5 Businesswire, “Investigation by Former FBI Director Louis Freeh Finds Congressional Drug Importation Proposals Would Pose Significant Threats,” June 6, 2017, available at http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170606005891/en/Investigation-FBI-Director-Louis-Freeh-Finds-Congressional
6 Report on potential impact of drug importation proposals on U.S. law enforcement, Freeh, Sporkin, and Sullivan LLC, Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, June 2017, accessible at https://storage.googleapis.com/m1738/20170605_Report%20on%20Counterfeit%20Drugs.pdf