LANGHORNE, PA – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) will spend his district work period meeting with constituents, local leaders, law enforcement and others to discuss work being done in Congress to address the nation’s opioid epidemic and ensure local concerns and solutions are part of the national discussion.

“There are few issues more pressing in our own neighborhoods than the devastation caused by the growing epidemic of opioid and drug abuse,” said Fitzpatrick. “While community groups, local government and law enforcement have undertaken the Herculean challenge of addressing this issue from all its sides, it is clear there is a crucial role for Congress to play in supporting and expanding these efforts. To this mission, my staff and I are entirely committed.” 

Fitzpatrick, a former drug crime federal prosecutor and certified Emergency Medical Technician, has made combatting drug and opioid abuse and addiction a priority in his first term. This week, he plans to announce new legislative initiatives; convene a roundtable meeting of local, county and state stakeholders; host a tele-town hall with constituents; and address local business owners, all with the focus on beginning a dialog to understand, and ultimately end, this destructive crisis. 

As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, Fitzpatrick questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly earlier this month on the connection between the southern border and Pennsylvania’s opioid epidemic. When asked, Sec. Kelly agreed there was a direct link and action is needed to address the drugs and drug money before they cross into the U.S.

“I believe, by reinforcing the southwest border, and getting some control over it, it will make it harder for the importation of drugs that way,” said Sec. Kelly in response to Fitzpatrick’s questioning. “When I was in Southern Command, we worked very closely with the FBI, CIA and Treasury Department. I think that kind of thing: going after the money, working with cooperative countries - and making them cooperative if they don’t want to be – that’s an aspect of it. Demand reduction. Better ports of entry… But, my view is, once it’s in the states, we’re done. We’re lost. There’s a million law enforcement individuals in our country who are superheroes in every sense of the word, but they cannot keep up with the amount of drugs… and amount of people that make it into the country. They’re just overwhelmed by the numbers and the tonnages.”