With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: What do parents need to know about “rainbow”
students headed back to school, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
issued an alert about candy-colored, “rainbow” fentanyl produced and marketed
by the drug cartels to entice young people. When parents across America
tuck their kids in at night, remember words matter. Don’t let the long day
behind you keep you from taking a moment to share a lifesaving lesson for the
day ahead. It’s more important than ever to teach the next generation about the
dangers of drugs. It truly will save lives. Overdose deaths are on the rise and
destroying tens of thousands of families across America. Last year, the U.S.
reached the highest overdose deaths on record, nearly 108,000 people died from
overdose in 2021. Two-thirds of those deaths are attributed to synthetic
opioids like fentanyl. Last year, Iowa set its own record: 470 Iowans died of a
drug overdose, and 44 people who died were younger than age 25. That means Iowa
had a 120 percent spike in overdose deaths in that age group. What’s happening?
Counterfeit pills are flooding into the U.S. from Mexican drug cartels. They
are manufacturing fake pills and marketing them as legitimate prescription
pills. Drug traffickers are taking advantage of the Biden administration’s
failure to secure the border to funnel illicit drugs into our communities.
Sophisticated crime rings are moving the highly potent pills around the country
through a network of couriers and dealers and profiteering to the tune of
billions of dollars. In Congress, I’m working to cut off the money laundering
pipeline, as well as the drug trafficking pipeline at the border.
As co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International
Narcotics Control, and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, I’m working
with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse to root out the corruption and money laundering schemes drug
cartels use. They are profiting from immeasurable pain and suffering by
peddling illicit poison. Last year, the DEA seized enough fentanyl powder to
kill every American in the country. Disguised as prescription drugs, these
pills may contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and individuals think they’re
taking a prescription opioid, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®),
hydrocodone (Vicodin®) or alprazolam (Xanax®). Experts say just two milligrams
may be lethal – imagine just 10-15 grains of table salt – may cause overdose
symptoms within seconds of ingestion.
Parents, policymakers, educators, health care
professionals and law enforcement officials must work together to protect the
next generation. I’m answering the call from Iowa law enforcement and pleas
from parents to do more at the policy table. I’m continuing to push the Biden
administration and Democrats in Congress to extend the Schedule 1 for fentanyl analogues. Law enforcement needs every tool available to stop these
dangerous drugs. I’ve also introduced the Stop Pills that Kill Act that
stiffen penalties for counterfeit pill production.
Make it your business to get in your teenager’s business.
Be sure they understand a pill they think is harmless could kill them. Know who
they chat with online. Know they can buy deadly counterfeit pills on social
media or other online platforms. Talk to other parents and talk to your kids.
Educate yourself about fentanyl. Learn more and visit the DEA’s Fentanyl
Q: What’s Congress doing to crack down on criminal
violence sweeping across America?
by certain misguided elected leaders to “Defund the Police” had serious
consequences. Americans are increasingly concerned about public safety as they
go about their daily lives. Fewer police on the beat make our streets less
safe. Lawlessness and reckless bail reforms in urban areas across the country
are leading to increasingly violent crime across America. Murders and carjackings
are on the rise. Demoralized law enforcement departments are struggling to
recruit and retain police officers. Local police departments need more
resources, not less funding to keep the peace and keep our communities safe.
Last year, I helped steer to the president’s desk three bipartisan
bills to boost support for local law enforcement. Earlier this
year, I shepherded the Invest to Protect
Act and the Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act through
the Senate to provide more resources for local police departments and set up
mental health resources for first responders. Momentum is building for my
bicameral bill the Combating Violent
and Dangerous Crime Act, to
strengthen laws on the books for violent offenses to help keep communities
safe, including bank robbery, kidnapping, murder and a ban on marketing
candy-flavored drugs to minors. I’m also working to renew the Project Safe
Neighborhoods grant program that for two decades has helped local law
enforcement fight crime through prevention and intervention in the
neighborhoods where families work, go to school and run a business. The federal
grant program is coordinated by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the 94 federal
judicial districts. Applications for Iowa’s Project
Safe Neighborhoods are due Sept. 28, 2022.