The nation must crack down on the amounts of fentanyl coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, and part of that fight would be increasing mandatory minimum penalties for offenses involving the drug, says Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.
Grothman has introduced legislation to do just that, he said on Newsmax Tuesday.
"We do catch people trafficking in fentanyl [but] the mandatory minimums are greater for heroin, even though fentanyl is so very much worse," he said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America," pointing out that last year, more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses, mainly blamed on fentanyl.
"Six years ago, 47,000 people died from drug overdoses," said Grothman. "Every politician needs to talk about it."
Part of the issue is because the southern border isn't being controlled, he added.
"We have to increase the number of people guarding the border," said Grothman. "We're way short there, and if you look at the Biden administration, in their proposed budget, there's more money for every social program under there. The only thing that doesn't get more money is the Border Patrol."
The legislation calls for increasing the sentences for fentanyl-related crimes to put them on the same level as those imposed for offenses involving heroin and other opiates.
Grothman said he thinks part of the reason there is no focus being made on the fentanyl issue is because "politicians are just bored talking about drug abuse."
"We talked about drug abuse so much six years ago when we were under 50,000," he said. "Now that you're here, it's over 100,000, and people's eyes just glaze over. I think that's what it comes down to. Plus, right now, it has been kind of a trend to say we have too many people in prison."
He added that he thinks President Joe Biden isn't addressing the overdose issue because it is connected with the border, "and he'd rather focus on other things."
But the Biden administration's "biggest failure" is the border, said Grothman. The administration "has said, We don't care what happens. We're just going to let America go downhill."
The congressman also commented on guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that instructs states to reserve monoclonal antibody drugs for patients with medical risk factors and urges them to consider race and ethnicity as risky.
"It's horrible," he said. "It's just racism — and it's throughout the Biden administration in my district."
People are dying while waiting for monoclonal antibodies, he added, but "in Wisconsin, we just can't get enough. Joe Biden's administration is letting people die."
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