By U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) –
Nearly every time I turn on the news or read the paper, I see story after story of Americans falling victim to drugs laced with fentanyl. It’s impossible to miss the devastating impact of Joe Biden’s open southern border. Though miles away, communities in cities and suburbs across America are now on the front line of the war on drugs. With Halloween just around the corner, parents are worried about protecting their children from this drug epidemic.
Mexican drug cartels went into overdrive as soon as President Biden took office, smuggling fentanyl in by the truckload. With any semblance of law and order tossed aside, dealers realized they could get away with lacing common prescription drugs.
Now, just in time for Halloween, the DEA is warning parents that the cartels are attempting to lure children with brightly-colored “rainbow” fentanyl made to look like candy. That’s right – they are serving up poison that could pass as Chewy SweeTARTS. With heinous operations like this, it’s no wonder fentanyl overdoses have become the leading cause of death for adults ages 18 to 45. A chilling report from National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) approximates that 150 people a day die from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. All it takes is one pill or enough powder to fit on the tip of a pencil.
The escalation of these drug schemes falls under a much larger umbrella: the rise in crime and lawlessness in our nation. Compared to mid-2019, America’s largest cities have seen a 50% increase in homicides and a 36% increase in aggravated assaults. The chaos we are witnessing in the streets has American parents on edge as they prepare their children’s costumes for their otherwise-jubilant October 31 traditions.
The bad guys believe they can get away with this lawlessness because no one is holding them accountable. Those in charge at the White House, all the way down to big city DAs, have either ignored the problem or implemented policies that worsened the situation.
Their inaction prompted Senator Hagerty and me to introduce the Restoring Law and Order Act to increase resources for state and local law enforcement agencies and help combat violent crime. Furthermore, we must interrupt the peddling of drugs to young people, and that means going straight to the hub – social media platforms. What is Big Tech doing to banish drug-related activity from their platforms and create a safer environment for young users? My colleagues and I hear the concerns of parents, and we want answers.
Until we start to see genuine accountability from those in charge, security moms – and dads – are stepping up in their communities to fill the void. They refuse to sit back and watch their loved ones fall into the trap criminals have set, and this Halloween, they will be on high alert as the drug crisis makes its way from their TV screens to their front doors. They won’t be alone. As I traveled through all 95 Tennessee counties this year, I was met with an overwhelming readiness from first responders, friendly neighbors, and local leaders who stand ready to help protect our children from harm.
Based on my conversations with them, I have released a guide to help parents know what to look for and keep young ones safe as they trick-or-treat. President Biden and his allies in Congress might be happy to ignore what’s at stake, but Tennesseans are not. Together, we can keep our kids safe, and demand accountability from the White House and from the criminals who have been granted a free pass for too long.
About the Author: Marsha Blackburn is the senior United States Senator from Tennessee. A businesswoman, she is a member of the Republican Party. Blackburn was a state senator from 1999 to 2003 and represented Tennessee’s 7th congressional district in the U.S. House from 2003 to 2019. On November 6, 2018, she became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee, defeating former Democratic Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. She took over as the state’s senior senator in January 2021, when outgoing Senator Lamar Alexander retired. Follow Blackburn on Twitter @MarshaBlackburn and Facebook.