October 05, 2021

Senator Hassan Calls on the DEA to Combat Rise in Counterfeit, Dangerous Drugs

“The administration must take further action to address the substance misuse crisis and this dangerous rise in counterfeit drugs”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) called on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat the dangerous rise in of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine disguised as prescription drugs. This comes after an WMUR report on the issue in New Hampshire, which included an interview with DEA Associate Special Agent Jon DeLena of the New England Field Division.

 

“The substance misuse crisis has devastated communities across New Hampshire. I have also heard from law enforcement that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more drug trafficking through the dark web. This, among numerous other factors, has made it easier for illicit drugs to evade law enforcement and fuel the substance misuse crisis we have seen across our state,” wrote Senator Hassan in a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “That is why the rise in the masquerading of fentanyl and methamphetamine into seemingly harmless pills is deeply disturbing and threatens the public health and safety of Granite Staters.”

 

Senator Hassan goes on to write, “The administration must take further action to address the substance misuse crisis and this dangerous rise in counterfeit drugs. I request information on what additional steps the DEA is taking to combat this new dimension in the fight against substance misuse and what additional action you may need from Congress to be successful in cracking down on this.”

 

Senator Hassan is leading bipartisan efforts to combat the substance use disorder crisis, and since 2017, the Senator has worked to secure a nine-fold increase in funding to New Hampshire to address the substance use disorder epidemic. Last year, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan became law to help prevent opioid trafficking by further ensuring that personnel at the Department of Homeland Security can more easily detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Senator Hassan has also led bipartisan efforts to vastly increase access to life-saving addiction medicine by eliminating a requirement that currently blocks millions of highly trained health professionals from prescribing buprenorphine to their patients.

 

You can read a copy of the letter here or below.

 

Dear Administrator Anne Milgram:

 

I am reaching out regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) alarming alert on the rise of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine disguised as legitimate prescription drugs, and the recent reporting that DEA has seized 9.5 million counterfeit pills this year.

 

As you know, the substance misuse crisis has devastated communities across New Hampshire. I have also heard from law enforcement that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more drug trafficking through the dark web. This, among numerous other factors, has made it easier for illicit drugs to evade law enforcement and fuel the substance misuse crisis we have seen across our state.

 

That is why the rise in the masquerading of fentanyl and methamphetamine into seemingly harmless pills is deeply disturbing and threatens the public health and safety of Granite Staters. A recent report from WMUR News 9 cites DEA Associate Special Agent Jon DeLena who describes the issue as one that “keeps me awake at night” because of its “softer approach that they are taking by coming at them with pills, pills that many of us have in our homes.” The reporter also detailed how some drug traffickers are using social media to encourage teens who may be struggling with anxiety or stress to buy so-called medication that could be laced with fentanyl or methamphetamine. Additionally, the report notes that the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office recently seized 9,000 fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone.

 

The administration must take further action to address the substance misuse crisis and this dangerous rise in counterfeit drugs. I request information on what additional steps the DEA is taking to combat this new dimension in the fight against substance misuse and what additional action you may need from Congress to be successful in cracking down on this. Thank you for your steadfast work and attention to this critical issue.

 

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