Schumer, speaking in Albion, pushes tougher action against flow of fentanyl in US

Photos by Tom Rivers: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer speaks in the Orleans County legislative chambers this afternoon, discussing federal efforts to sanction China and Mexico for spreading fentanyl in U.S. Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone, at right, said fentanyl “is the worst crisis we have in the country today.”

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 August 2023 at 4:47 pm

ALBION – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said a new weapon against “the scourge of fentanyl” is almost ready to be deployed. It just needs final passage from the House of Representatives.

The Senate last week approved the FEND Off Fentanyl Act. It would allow President Biden to place economic sanctions on China and Mexico for contributing to the fentanyl epidemic in the United States, Schumer said as a press conference in Albion today.

“We need to stop the flow of this awful, awful drug,” Schumer said. “We have to protect our country and our kids from these deadly drugs, which are getting deadlier and deadlier.”

In Orleans County there have been 23 fatal drug overdoses since 2019 and Genesee County has 53 fatal opioid overdoses during that time. Of those overdoses, 64 of the 76 or 84 percent involve fentanyl, said Paul Pettit, director of the public health departments in Orleans and Genesee counties.

“Orleans County has seen the devastation that fentanyl can cause,” Schumer said.

He noted that $9 million in illegal drugs have been seized in Orleans County by law enforcement, including 114 fentanyl pills.

Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone said the federal government needs to lead the effort to stop fentanyl from getting into the country.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said law enforcement efforts are not enough to stop fentanyl and illegal drugs. The federal government needs to lead the fight against stopping the problem at the source, before it gets into the U.S., Cardone said.

“This is the worst crisis we have in the country today,” Cardone said.

The country lost 106,000 people to fatal drug overdoses in 2021. Cardone said the drug epidemic is robbing the country of its youth.

“On a local level it’s impossible to defeat this problem,” Cardone said. “We need federal action to stop the flow into our country.”

Schumer said the drug epidemic hits every community in the country. He wants to declare international fentanyl trafficking a national emergency.

“From Buffalo to Rochester to right here in Orleans County, fentanyl continues to take the lives of far too many New Yorkers each and every day,” Schumer said. “We must make getting this deadly drug off of our streets and out of the U.S. a top priority, and the just passed Senate defense bill provides a rare window of opportunity to do just that.”