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The Overview Published: Jan 11, 2022

Open Letter to U.S. Law Enforcement Officers Battling America’s Opioid Crisis

House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) want to hear from America’s law enforcement officers on the frontlines of America’s ongoing fentanyl crisis. Synthetic opioids, mainly fueled by fentanyl, accounted for the majority of U.S. drug-overdose deaths in 2021 and the Republican lawmakers are determined to investigate this unprecedented increase and ensure the drug crisis does not continue.  

Below is a copy of the letter. The signed letter can be found here.

Dear Law Enforcement Officers:

The United States is experiencing an unprecedented overdose epidemic fueled largely by illicit fentanyl flowing across our borders. According to the CDC, the United States recorded its highest ever number of drug-overdose deaths in a 12-month period from April 2020 to April 2021. This epidemic is dramatically affecting our teens—in Arizona, fentanyl is the number one killer of teenagers. Republican members of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform and Energy and Commerce are investigating this unprecedented increase in overdose deaths to ensure this crisis does not continue. We are calling on you to provide any anecdotes or information regarding illicit drugs and particularly fentanyl, which can be shared confidentially at the email address below.

Synthetic opioids, mainly fueled by fentanyl, accounted for about 64 percent of all drug overdose deaths through April 2021—up 49 percent from the same period last year.  Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.  The production and supply of illicit fentanyl into the U.S. market is increasingly driven by Mexican cartels and China remains a main source of supply for precursor chemicals—used to make dangerous drugs that cartels illegally smuggle into the country in large amounts. In Fiscal Year 2021, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than 11,000 pounds of fentanyl crossing the southern border—a 42 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2020, with the vast majority discovered coming through ports of entry. This figure amounts to enough fentanyl to cause approximately 2.5 billion deaths.

The Republican members of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform and Energy and Commerce are dedicated to fighting this crisis at the border and related crimes. If you are on the frontlines of this crisis and have information about how the increased flow of fentanyl into the United States is impacting communities around the U.S., please contact the House Oversight and Reform Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican staff’s confidential tip line at