Heinrich pushes for tough federal action on street fentanyl

Sen. Heinrich pushes for Class I classification for street fentanyl

Community leaders in New Mexico are speaking out in favor of a crackdown on street fentanyl that U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is proposing.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As the fentanyl crisis persists in New Mexico, state and federal leaders are looking to take action to get the deadly drug out of communities.

The urgency comes as a study finds our state has the sixth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

Last week, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich gathered with law enforcement, first responders and other leaders. They talked about how this epidemic is affecting New Mexico.

“We’ve seen fentanyl emerge in Las Cruces as really the driving force behind a lot of the negative drastic changes we’ve seen especially in the past few years,” Police Chief Jeremy Story said.

“With fentanyl pills being $1-3 a piece, and easily accessible, it’s an issue,” said Desiree Bustos, an Española Valley resident who serves as the lead certified peer support worker.

Sen. Heinrich says it’s important to crack down on fentanyl’s source.

“That’s why I wrote and successfully secured a provisions bill. It would require the DEA to develop a comprehensive fentanyl tracking system. This new comprehensive tracking system is critical to better understanding the movement of illicit drugs into and within the United States,” he said.

Heinrich is pushing for legislation allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire more officers and Border Patrol agents.

It’s not just about prevention. Some officials say it’s also about helping people recover from addiction.

“Pushing federal dollars on to communities so people can really identify trauma-informed methods for helping people regain and recover their lives,” New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez said.

Sen. Heinrich wants to permanently make fentanyl and its analogs a Schedule I drug. That would allow federal prosecutors to build strong criminal cases against fentanyl traffickers.