WETZEL COUNTY, W.Va. — The opioid crisis has hit even harder over the last year, and West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito said a big concern of hers is what is coming across the southern border of the country.
Capito spent time at the El Paso border recently, along with a group of bipartisan senators.
The republican lawmaker said she's concerned about the border crisis for many reasons. But the flow of illegal drugs is a big one.
“We see all the trouble at the southern border with people coming in, the drugs are flowing in. There’re more methamphetamines, heroin, more fentanyl. The fentanyl seizures at the southern border are up 640%. That just tells me. That's just what they're getting.”
Last year, overdose death numbers skyrocketed, with more than 81,000 people losing their lives.
Capito said focus on the opioid epidemic lessened with the pandemic taking center stage. But she said some help may be coming in the form of American Rescue Act funds in the future.
“There's money in the rescue act that is directly for opioid and addiction issues,” she said. “That's something that I've worked on. There should be money flowing from the feds to the states probably to the locals on that, as well.”
As states begin to try to get the pandemic under control, Capito said the push to fight back against the opioid epidemic should once again become a major focus for the federal government.
“I know we've put a lot of money into treatment and disruption and to try to get people back to work,” she said. “We just gotta keep at it.”