Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that policies combating drugs have not been successful in fighting the flow of fentanyl into the country, in a statement he made to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Fentanyl, which has contributed to overdose deaths in record numbers throughout the country, was purposefully set loose on the country by drug cartels, Garland claimed, according to FOX News.
“It’s a horrible epidemic, but it’s an epidemic that’s been unleashed on purpose by the Sinaloa and the new generation Jalisco cartels,” Garland told the committee, according to FOX News.
“[Current anti-drug policies] are not stopping fentanyl from killing Americans,” said Garland, per USA Today. “We are focusing on fentanyl with enormous urgency.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last year seized enough fentanyl to kill every American –about 379 million doses– Garland said.
According to the DEA, fentanyl is being mass-produced by drug cartels in Mexico from materials originating in China.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), the committee chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said at the beginning of the hearing, according to the New York Post, that fellow senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) “basically challenged me — and I accept the challenge — to show as much concern about the gun deaths, show as much concern about fentanyl deaths in this country, and I want to do that.”
Graham said that congress needed to “up our game when it comes to fentanyl.”
Graham challenged Garland as to why the drug cartels had not been designated as foreign terrorist organizations and the mandatory minimum sentences for fentanyl dealers had not been increased.
“There is no strategy that I can discern about how to deal with the poisoning of Americans through fentanyl,” Graham commented, per the New York Post.
Garland deflected Graham’s questions, referring him to other departments in the U.S. government while also shifting responsibility to the Mexican government, which he claimed “could do much more. There’s no question about that,” according to the New York Post.
“We do what we can do with respect to the jurisdictions that we have,” Garland responded.
Fentanyl is extremely addictive and far more potent than heroin –about 50 times more. Only a small amount of it is needed to kill someone.
Two-thirds of the more than 100,000 people who died from overdoses in 2021 were killed by fentanyl, reported USA Today.
Fentanyl overdoses are a crisis on a national scale, but recently the issue has hit close to home with overdoses surrounding a Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District (CFBISD) middle school where a nearby suspected drug house was reportedly distributing the drug to students.
Recently, CFBISD held workshops for parents which sought to educate them on the drug and explain what they should tell their children about fentanyl.