‘This Is Struggle,’ Mom of two Sons Killed by Fentanyl Testifies, Telling Congress to ‘Do One thing’

Rebecca Kiessling struggled to talk as she instructed members of Congress concerning the deaths of her two grownup sons, who had been each killed by fentanyl in 2020.  

“You speak about welcoming these crossing our border searching for safety—[but] you’re welcoming drug sellers throughout our border, you’re giving them safety. You’re not defending our kids,” Kiessling testified Tuesday earlier than the Home Homeland Safety Committee.  

“It is a battle,” she mentioned. “Act prefer it. Do one thing.”   

Kiessling, a Michigan resident, was one in every of 4 witnesses to testify in the course of the listening to, titled “Each State is a Border State: Inspecting Secretary Mayorkas’ Border Disaster.” 

“We’re the Committee on Homeland Safety. We should safe our homeland now,” Rep. Mark Inexperienced, R-Tenn., chairman of the panel, mentioned in opening remarks.  

Kiessling’s two sons had been 18 and 20 once they purchased what turned out to be “pretend Percocets” from a drug seller, she mentioned, referrring to a model identify for oxycodone acetaminophen.

“There was no Percocet in it in any respect,” the mom mentioned, including that her sons’ deaths every was “a murder, not overdose.” 

“My kids had been taken away from me,” Kiessling mentioned.  

The mom mentioned the drug seller who bought her sons the tablets additionally took them however was saved by the artificial drug naloxone, bought beneath the model identify Narcan and used within the occasion of an opioid overdose.

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As a result of the drug seller survived, investigators had been capable of finding out the place he bought the tablets and finally “made it clear to me that this fentanyl got here from Mexico,” the mom mentioned.  

“Drug overdose deaths have risen fivefold over the previous 20 years,” the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention wrote in a report launched in December  

Fewer than 20,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in America in 2000, in line with the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse. Twenty years later, in 2020, a complete of 91,799 deadly drug overdoses occurred, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reviews. Opioids corresponding to fentanyl had been concerned in 68,630, or 75%, of those overdose deaths.   

In 2021, the U.S. recorded greater than 107,000 deaths from drug overdoses or poisonings, and almost 70% of these had been on account of artificial opioids corresponding to fentanyl, in line with the CDC.  

Drug overdose is the main trigger of loss of life for People ages 18 to 45.   

Two milligrams of fentanyl is sufficient to be doubtlessly deadly to the typical grownup, in line with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. For comparability, one teaspoon of desk salt accommodates about 2,325 milligrams. 

U.S. Customs and Border Safety reviews that it seized simply over 14,000 kilos of fentanyl in fiscal yr 2022, which ended Sept. 30, and greater than 12,000 kilos between October and the tip of January.  

Rep. Carlos Giménez, R-Fla., mentioned in the course of the listening to that the federal authorities ought to do far more to cease cartels from smuggling fentanyl and different medication into the nation.  

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“A bit of bit over 20 years in the past, a terrorist group came visiting and killed about 3,000 People,” Giménez mentioned of the 9/11 assaults, including that the federal government’s response was 20 years of battle in Afghanistan.

“We’re doing completely nothing a few terrorist group that’s killing much more People each single yr,” the Florida Republican mentioned.  

Mark Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, testified that he has “seen a 600% enhance in fentanyl in my group.”

Pinal County, positioned between Phoenix and Tuscon, is simply over 50 miles from the U.S. border with Mexico.

“In 2019, we had round 700 tablets [seized]. In 2020, we had over 200,000 tablets,” Lamb mentioned. “In 2021, we had over 1.2 million tablets. And this final yr, we had over 1.4 million tablets come into my group.” 

Whereas Kiessling and Lamb burdened a necessity for extra border safety, David Bier, affiliate director of immigration research at Cato Institute, a libertarian assume tank in Washington, D.C., instructed the committee: “Congress ought to give attention to serving to drug customers, not banning immigrants.” 

Crackdowns on unlawful immigration have spurred the cartels to provide stronger medication, Bier argued.  

“The restrictions on commerce and journey that began in 2020 have solely exacerbated the issue,” he mentioned. “As a result of fentanyl is 50 instances stronger than heroin, it might provide the identical market with far fewer journeys. So with fewer journeys and extra scrutiny in 2020 and 2021, traffickers switched from heroin to fentanyl, and fentanyl deaths doubled.”  

Bier instructed committee members that they need to “give attention to defending drug customers, no more crackdowns,” including: “No more border crackdowns, no more banning of asylum, that’s not the reply to this downside.” 

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Moments later, Rep. Michael Visitor, R-Miss., requested Lamb for his ideas on Bier’s argument.  

“Whereas I agree it’s a must to curb demand, that is like mopping the toilet flooring with out turning off the bathtub water,” the Arizona sheriff mentioned.  

A “lack of fortitude to safe our border has created a possibility for the cartels,” the sheriff added.

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