Arizona Republican state legislators doubled down on their call to action on the border crisis, particularly on fentanyl, at a news conference on Thursday.
The legislators said that the rise in fentanyl deaths in the state is deeply concerning and called for more resources to support law enforcement and greater education on prevention techniques like the use of naloxone for accidental overdose deaths.
“We need to take swift action to deal with what is happening to combat it,” Rep. Steve Montenegro, who is the Chairman of the House Health & Human Services Committee, said.
Opioid overdoses, which commonly stem from fentanyl, result in over five deaths daily in Arizona, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.
Montenegro mentioned introducing a “placeholder bill” that will later be amended after talking with other government officials and experts.
“Now, Gov. Hobbs has stated that she agrees that this is a crisis. But her actions in gutting border-related funding to law enforcement says otherwise. That’s unacceptable,” he said.
Hobbs’s proposed budget cuts to the state’s Border Strike Force, The Center Square reported.
Later in the news conference, Republican House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci also criticized the governor.
“She is not here to help the Arizonans with our border crisis. We are as Republicans,” Biasiucci said of the Democrat, who took office earlier this month.
Former interim director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan spoke as well, and he referred to Arizona as “ground zero” for fentanyl.
When The Center Square asked if the legislation would crack down on social media platforms being used for trafficking activity, Montenegro said the current focus is raising awareness.
“The focus is making sure Arizona understands this is a public health crisis. This is a public safety crisis,” he said.
“It’s a porous border. Fentanyl is killing our – kids aren’t blue or red. Kids that are dying, they don’t understand politics, but they’re dying. And we need to do something about that,” Montenegro added.
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