Senators from Virginia are calling for significantly stricter measures to combat the importation of illegal substances into the United States. The letter, which was sent to the Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, noted a significant increase in the importation of narcotic substances, including fentanyl, which further appear in the sale on the illicit markets.
The senators are calling for specific steps needed to expand their authority, which would help address the critical situation surrounding the sale of narcotics in the region. Virginia has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic, with the state attorney general going so far as to try to classify the drug as a “weapon of mass destruction”.
The state has recently had the highest number of deaths from opioid overdoses.
The lack of treatment methods is not just a problem for addicts. It also affects businesses, which are understaffed or harmed by addicts. Opioid overdoses have increased several tens since 2014, from the strong growth in sales of fentanyl-containing products.
For years, West Virginia has led the nation in drug overdoses, and by a wide margin. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 81.4 overdoses per 100,000 West Virginians in 2020. The next closest point was Washington, D.C., with a rate of 58.1, followed by Kentucky with a rate of 49.2.
Approximately 58 percent of inmates in Virginia suffer from drug addiction or abuse.