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(WASHINGTON, D.C.)– Congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) received a letter of support from California Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes for H.R. 7359 Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act


Rep. DesJarlais’ legislation would use Title 42 authority to expedite the expulsion process of illegal border crossers due to the immediate public health risks posed by the record amounts of fentanyl and other deadly and addictive drugs crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.  


Sheriff Barnes writes in part, “Ending our drug crises requires a multi-pronged strategy that includes education about the dangers of drugs for our youth, treatment for those who are suffering from addiction, and tough enforcement against those who profit by putting American lives at risk. With over three decades of law enforcement experience I know that the best strategy for enforcement is the interdiction of drugs at their source. The Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act is needed legislation that will bolster the needed enforcement component.”


The Tennessee congressman believes that Title 42 gives law enforcement authorities another tool to help protect and defend our southern border.


“I am proud to have the support of Sheriff Barnes on this legislation,” said DesJarlais. “Every day, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect our citizens from illegal drugs crossing our southern border. Title 42 is an important tool to equip the brave men and women on our police forces with.”


The congressman, and also a medical doctor, shares in the concern with Barnes that the number of drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 in the United States from April 2020-April 2021. 


DesJarlais told FOX News, "To put into perspective, that's as many people in one year we've lost to drug overdoses than we have to combat casualties dating back to the Korean War, so it certainly should be considered a public health emergency, and it puts a tool in the arsenal of our Border Patrol agents to stem the unprecedented flow of illegals across the southern border."


Barnes writes, “This biggest illustration of this crisis is the mounting number of deaths. As you are aware, for the first time in a 12-month period, nationwide drug-related deaths exceeded 100,000. Between April 2020 and April 2021 a total of 100,306 Americans lost their life to a drug-related death. The biggest component of that 100,306 deaths are synthetic opioids, specifically fentanyl. In my county, the total number of fentanyl deaths was 37 in 2016. By 2021 our total fentanyl deaths was 693 (with 62 cases still pending as of March 21, 2022). According to the California Department of Health, statewide fentanyl deaths increased over 2,200% in the last five years.”


Currently, drug overdoses are the number one killer of Americans ages 18-45. 


H.R. 7359 mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Hagerty.





You can read California Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes' full letter here.