Bilirakis Questions Officials on Fentanyl & the Opioid Crisis
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) questioned officials at a congressional hearing on the growing public threat of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. During the hearing, Bilirakis discussed the issues of raising public awareness about fentanyl and what local communities can do to fight the opioid crisis.
“Opioid abuse in Florida and across the nation has taken a toll on our families and our communities. While most people know about the risk of drugs like OxyContin and heroin, as we discussed at today’s hearing, fentanyl is a lesser known, but extremely potent danger. I will continue to work in Congress to see that local communities and law enforcement have the tools they need to tackle this crisis head on so we can prevent addiction and save lives,” said Bilirakis.
In recent years, Pasco, Pinellas, and Hillsborough counties have all seen a rise in deaths due to opioid overdose, with fentanyl believed to be a major factor. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, fentanyl-related deaths increased by over 100% statewide in 2015.
Bilirakis has long been a proponent of addressing the nation’s opioid epidemic. Last year, with Bilirakis’ support, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. He also championed the Jason Simcackoski PROMISE Act to ensure safer opioid prescribing practices for Veterans.