WASHINGTON, D.C. – SFRC Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today delivered the following opening statement as this morning’s full Committee hearing on illicit fentanyl trafficking.
Testifying before the Committee were the Honorable Todd Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; the Honorable Anne Milgram, Administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the Executive Office of the President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“The Foreign Relations Committee is holding this hearing because this is a crisis we cannot solve just within our borders,” Menendez said. “We need to use every foreign policy tool we have to stop the flow of fentanyl into our country. This means asking Mexico to do more to disrupt criminal organizations from producing and trafficking fentanyl …. It means expanding our work with India to strengthen regulation of its chemical and pharmaceutical industries. And of course, it also means confronting China.”
Emphasizing that fentanyl—the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-49—is one of the most urgent challenges facing the American public today, Chairman Menendez highlighted the story of New Jersey mother Tanya Niederman, whose only son, JJ, was found dead, poisoned by a recreational drug laced with fentanyl.
“Illicit fentanyl robbed my son JJ of his life, and the hopes and dreams I had for him. I can’t put into words what this feels like. Fentanyl is affecting families all over this country from all walks of life, in record numbers, and we need to act now to ensure our children are protected,” Niederman said.