Shaheen questions Biden officials in SFRC hearing on countering fentanyl trafficking
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today urged immediate action to counter illicit fentanyl trafficking. During the hearing, Shaheen questioned administration officials on what can be done to hold social media platforms accountable for enabling fentanyl sales that target youth and fuel this crisis. She pointed to her bipartisan bill with Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) – the Cooper Davis Act – which would help ensure social media companies work with law enforcement to crack down on these illegal sales.
“Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram, they’re all being used to market and sell pills laced with fentanyl. I think we’ve got to do more to force social media companies to be responsible. What are each of you doing to engage the social media companies, and what should we be doing as Congress to shut down these platforms that are being used to sell drugs?” questioned Shaheen.
Today’s hearing also comes amid local reports today that there were 435 confirmed overdose deaths in New Hampshire in 2022, with 39 more cases pending – marking the worst year for overdose deaths since 2017. During Shaheen’s questioning, she pointed to the impact of new substances entering the market like xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, which make fentanyl even deadlier, and pushed the DEA to address the ever-evolving crisis.
“In Manchester, since the beginning of February, we had ten overdose deaths from fentanyl. What we’re seeing now is an increasing number of cases related to xylazine, which is an animal tranquilizer that is being cut into drugs including fentanyl. Unlike opioids, there is no reverse agent like Narcan to reverse those overdoses,” Shaheen said. “Can you tell me, Administrator Milgram, does the DEA have a position on scheduling drugs like xylazine that are used for legitimate medical purposes but are being used illicitly? What is your position on that?”
Closing her remarks, Shaheen doubled down on the need to make targeting social media, out of all the websites being used to traffic illicit drugs, a top priority, stating, “Well, I certainly agree with you – it’s broader. But my grandchildren aren’t on those commercial websites on a daily basis. They are on social media sites.”