Dear Representatives Vasquez and Fitzpatrick,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 3658, the “Joint Task Force to Combat Opioid Trafficking Act.”
In 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose—65% of which was attributable to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. In many of these cases, the substances originated from other countries and were smuggled across the border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reports that in the same year, more than 900,000 pounds of drugs were seized upon entry. As both overdoses and trafficking activity worsen year after year, the demand for a solution grows more urgent.
Your legislation aims to combat opioid trafficking by authorizing the creation of a joint task force under section 708 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) border security operations in assisting the prevention, interdiction, and disruption, of opioids, such as fentanyl and xylazine, from entering the United States. The task force will last two years and be comprised of private-sector leaders who specialize in relevant technology systems that could contribute to the disruption of opioid activity across the border. They will advise Federal, State, local, and Tribal law enforcement on potential practices that may be leveraged to fight border-bound opiates. Under this task force, the CBP will be better equipped to address the drug crisis plaguing communities across the nation, keeping American families safe.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you both for your leadership on this important issue. If I can provide any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.