U.S. Sen. John Cornyn came to Dallas on Monday to raise awareness about the ongoing fentanyl crisis.
Cornyn (R-TX) joined other local officials, law enforcement, and people impacted by fentanyl at Dallas Fire Station 19 on September 25.
“It’s going to take all of us to try to save lives here,” he said, per NBC 5 DFW. “This is not going to get any easier.”
The senator said stopping the demand for drugs being smuggled across the southern border will require the combined efforts of the local, state, and national leaders along with individuals in local communities.
Cornyn encouraged parents to speak with their children about the dangers of fentanyl and the risks of sharing medication among friends.
“They need to know if something they’re taking something that will kill them,” he said.
Cornyn introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate earlier this year that would decriminalize fentanyl test strips across the country. Fentanyl test strips, which can be used to determine whether a drug is laced with fentanyl, are currently illegal in some states, including Texas.
State lawmakers introduced legislation to legalize fentanyl test strips in Texas during the 88th legislative session, but those efforts were unsuccessful. Opposing legislators argued that widespread use of the testing strips would give people more confidence to abuse a drug knowing it does not contain fentanyl.
“We’re not going to give up,” Cornyn said.
District Attorney John Creuzot was present at the fire station on Monday.
Creuzot discussed the possibility of directing funds from civil forfeiture to programs addressing the fentanyl crisis. He also said he supports Cornyn’s efforts toward decriminalizing test strips.
“What we’re doing is helping solve a much larger problem — saving a life,” Creuzot said, per NBC 5.
The district attorney previously championed the City of Dallas joining the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) — a project that maps drug overdoses in an effort to more effectively respond to the opioid crisis.
Dallas began participating in ODMAP in June. However, officials are declining to share information about overdose locations with the public, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, led by Creuzot, reportedly argued that health privacy laws exempt the data from open records requests.
Creuzot has previously been criticized for other policy choices perceived as endangering lives rather than protecting them, such as not prosecuting thefts valued under $750. He later reversed that policy after it was scrutinized for potentially encouraging crime.
Other local elected officials present included Dallas City Council Members Adam Bazaldua, Paula Blackmon, and Jesse Moreno.
Bazaldua and Blackmon have previously supported efforts at the state level to combat the ongoing opioid crisis, as covered by The Dallas Express.