Mayors Breed, Harrell urge congressional leaders to support increased funding to combat fentanyl crisis

37 mayors ask Congress to support Biden Administration’s efforts to prevent overdose deaths

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, November 14, San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, and 35 other U.S. mayors sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass President Joe Biden’s supplemental funding request, which includes critical resources to address the fentanyl and synthetic opioid crisis.

According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug-related deaths hit a new record in 2022 with over 100,000 Americans dying from fatal overdoses. Approximately 70% of those deaths involved fentanyl or other synthetic opioids.

“Fentanyl is devastating communities in cities all across our country like no other drug we’ve ever experienced before and this crisis demands additional urgent intervention efforts,” said Mayor Breed. “President Biden’s funding request gets at the heart of what we need – more funding for treatment to help those struggling with addiction and to prevent overdoses, and support for public safety and enforcement efforts to hold those accountable who are profiting off this deadly drug. This crisis requires partnerships at all levels of government, and I’m grateful for President Biden’s call for more support.”

“Cities across America are facing a deadly drug crisis driven by fentanyl and synthetic opioids, and we need all levels of government engaged in the fight against this epidemic that is taking too many lives and devastating our communities,” said Mayor Harrell. “President Biden’s supplemental funding request takes a much-needed dual public health and public safety approach, helping those with substance use disorder access life-saving treatment options, while also deploying more resources to stop narcotics from entering our communities and holding traffickers accountable. This is the balance we need to save American lives and keep our cities safe, and I strongly urge congressional leaders to support this additional funding.”

President Biden’s supplemental funding request includes the following:

  • $1.5 billion in grant funding to localities through the Department of Health and Human Services’ State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program

This critical program provides funding for opioid use disorder treatment, evidence-based harm reduction services, overdose prevention measures like naloxone, and recovery support services in all states and territories. Since 2018, the SOR grant program has provided treatment services to over 1.2 million people, and states have purchased nearly 9 million overdose reversal medication kits using SOR grant funds and helped reverse approximately 500,000 overdoses.

  • $1.2 billion to crack down on the trafficking of illicit fentanyl and halt its passage through U.S. borders with additional enforcement and investigative personnel and cutting-edge detection technology

In Fiscal Year 2023, Homeland Security Investigations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted more than 5,000 fentanyl-related arrests. The funds in President Biden’s supplemental funding request will enable both agencies to apply the lessons learned and keep up with the tactics of the transnational criminal organizations that control the fentanyl trade.

The full letter sent by the U.S. mayors to congressional leaders can be viewed at https://sf.gov/sites/default/files/2023-11/2023.11.14%20MAYOR%20BREED%20AND%20SEATTLE%20MAYOR%20HARRELL%20URGE%20CONGRESSIONAL%20LEADERS%20TO%20SUPPORT%20INCREASED.pdf.

(SF Mayor’s Office Release)

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