U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio, D-17th District (Capital-Star file).
U.S. Rep Chris Deluzio, D-17th District, has joined the U.S. House’s bipartisan Fentanyl Prevention Caucus, which is focused on tackling fentanyl-related overdoses nationwide.
“Fatal overdoses from fentanyl have destroyed the lives, dreams, and loved ones of so many in Western Pennsylvania,” Deluzio said in a statement. “And unfortunately, in our community and across the country, the death toll keeps rising.”
“Congress must tackle fentanyl abuse like the public health crisis that it is—fighting from all angles to keep this deadly drug out of our communities, address root issues, support addiction services and recovery, and save lives,” he continued.
The caucus was created earlier this month by U.S. Reps Joe Neguse, D-Colo., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Ken Calvert, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean D-4th District. Its goal is to “coordinate with members from both sides of the aisle,” to work with state and federal law enforcement, prevention and awareness groups, and on education initiatives.
“Fentanyl has led to a devastating spike in the already alarming rate of overdoses ravaging every corner of our nation — it is crucial that we commit ourselves to a bipartisan effort to combat fentanyl-related overdoses and drug poisoning,” Dean said in a statement at the time.
Deluzio’s district has been hard hit by opioid overdoses, he noted in his statement, with a morbidity rate that frequently tops the national average.
A 2022 report from then-state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office found that fentanyl was the dominant opioid in Pennsylvania, replacing heroin.
In 2020, that report found, overdose deaths rose by 16.4% across Pennsylvania and another 6% in 2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such synthetic opioids as fentanyl were among the primary reasons for the increase in overdose deaths.
In Allegheny and Beaver counties, fentanyl was the most frequently reported drug in overdose deaths according to the PA Opioid Report from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the University of Pittsburgh.
Overdose Free PA’s most recent data shows fentanyl present in 70% of overdose deaths across the commonwealth.
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