Sens. Marshall, Shaheen, Grassley Host Biden Drug Czar to Discuss Fentanyl Crisis

(Washington, D.C., March 24, 2023) – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D., Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hosted Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, for a discussion on the federal government’s ongoing response to the opioid epidemic. A key focus of their discussion was on ways to ensure Big Tech companies take a more proactive role against drug dealers preying on America’s youth through social media. Dr. Gupta shared his support for their effort and committed to working collaboratively with the Senators to protect young people from these threats. They discussed executive and legislative approaches to address this including the Cooper Davis Act, which is authored by the hosting Senators, Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“At least one Kansan dies every day from fentanyl poisoning along with hundreds of others nationwide. Action from Congress and the White House is urgently needed to stop drug dealers from targeting Americans, particularly teenagers, through social media. Yesterday’s bipartisan meeting is proof that there is real momentum for the Cooper Davis Act,” Senator Marshall said. “This impactful legislation will finally hold social media companies accountable for marketing deadly illegal drugs to America’s youth on their platforms. We look forward to continuing our work with Dr. Gupta and our Senate partners.”

“With the surge in fentanyl trafficking and now the prevalence of narcan-resistant xylazine, the substance use disorder crisis is surging in New Hampshire and across the nation. For too long, our families have been broken by this scourge. Grandparents have stepped in to raise their grandkids; parents have endured the unimaginable grief of losing their children and our communities are overwhelmed by this epidemic,” said Senator Shaheen. “I appreciated meeting with Dr. Gupta to discuss what I’m hearing in New Hampshire and to highlight the bipartisan commitment that Senators Marshall, Grassley and I – as well as others in Congress – share to confront this crisis and save lives. From increasing flexibility in our laws to expand the eligibility of federal funds to treat substance use disorders, to enhancing global coordination to interdict the trafficking of fentanyl and holding social media companies accountable for how their platforms are used to target vulnerable kids, I’ll keep working on policies to turn the tide on this epidemic.”

“Tens of thousands of Americans are dying from drug overdoses, particularly because of illegally trafficked fentanyl. Law enforcement has found tragic numbers of overdose cases tied to major social media platforms. There must be a comprehensive system for these companies to aid federal authorities so we can stop this poison. It’s essential that ONDCP and the administration continue to support efforts like these, so we can get our legislation across the finish line,” said Senator Grassley.

“Today, illicit drugs like fentanyl can far too easily be bought and sold online, including on social media, and we are seeing the tragic results every day,” said Dr. Gupta.  “This Administration is committed to finding solutions to protect young people and all Americans from the dangers of these deadly drugs and hold drug traffickers and their enablers accountable.  We will look for every opportunity to work together in a bipartisan way with Congress to prevent more Americans from dying.”

The bill is in honor of Cooper Davis, a Kansas teen who tragically lost his life to a counterfeit prescription drug laced with fentanyl in August 2021. It was later found that a drug dealer solicited the teenager through popular social media platform Snapchat.

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