Walorski bill aims to help families affected by fentanyl

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:19 PM EDT
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INDIANA (WNDU) - Saint Joseph County families are burying record numbers of loved ones due to overdoses, at least 75 percent of which were attributed to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, according to the health department.

“It just seems every single day, we’re turning the page, we’re reading the paper, watching you talk about more bad news, more fentanyl coming in, more young Hoosiers died,” lamented Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-2nd District).

On Wednesday Rep. Jackie Walorski introduced a new bill that would allow impacted families to hold countries financially accountable for refusing to stop cartels and traffickers for the devastation they have caused regarding fentanyl.

A 2020 DEA report lists China and Mexico as the main sources for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances being trafficked into the U.S.

Unless people have test strips, the CDC reports it’s almost impossible to tell if drugs are laced with the extremely lethal fentanyl.

Speaking exclusively with WNDU, Walorski added: “Every time we can open the door, and give another option to somebody to go after the accountability of what’s happening with this poison drug, we need to do it.”

Alicia Wells - director of public relations for Allendale Recovery - thinks Walorski’s legislation is a start in the right direction.

“It sends a message that our leaders in our government are taking this seriously, and I believe that this is a great way for communication to begin on what more we can do locally and nationally,” said Wells.

The bill also would allow any state attorney general to bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of their state who have died - or been injured by international fentanyl trafficking.

Families seeking financial compensation from countries with high illicit fentanyl production would be allowed to hire international attorneys, who would then sue the countries in question.

Walorski said the bill will require a wealth of bipartisan support.

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