Steil continues fight to end fentanyl’s death grip on Wisconsin communities

The federal government can help keep Wisconsin communities like Rock County safe by fighting fentanyl alongside local and state law enforcement officials, said U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) last week. 

“Communities across southeast Wisconsin are being devastated by illicit fentanyl,” said Rep. Steil, who hosted an Aug. 12 roundtable in Janesville, Wis. “I am working to raise awareness of the dangers of illicit fentanyl, particularly when far too many victims are unaware they are taking it.” 

During the roundtable, Rep. Steil met with local leaders from the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, and local medical experts to discuss the increase in illicit fentanyl being found in the county and how law enforcement is working to keep these dangerous substances off Wisconsin’s streets, according to the congressman’s staff. 

“In Rock County, there were 47 overdose deaths from illicit fentanyl in 2021; 65 percent of overdose deaths are from fentanyl-related substances,” Rep. Steil said. “I will continue working with local, state, and federal partners to prevent this dangerous substance from devastating our communities.”  

Roundtable attendees who met with Rep. Steil included Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson; North Central HIDTA Deputy Director Scott Albrecht; Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Agnieszka Rogalska; Rock County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Zachary Anacker; and Jail Reentry Specialist Amy Evans. Additional attendees included numerous chiefs from local sheriff’s offices and police departments.

Rep. Steil’s roundtable continues the congressman’s efforts to lead the fight in Congress against illicit fentanyl. Most recently, for instance, two of his amendments offered to combat illicit fentanyl overdoses were included in the U.S. House of Representatives’ fiscal year 2023 appropriations minibus package.

The House on July 20 voted 220-207 to pass the amendments as part of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Rural Development, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2023, H.R. 8294, a package of six FY 2023 federal funding bills. H.R. 8294 is under consideration by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the congressional record bill summary.

“In order to stop the flow of illicit fentanyl coming into our communities, we need to secure the border, support law enforcement, and make fentanyl-related substances a permanent Schedule I drug,” said Rep. Steil when the bipartisan bill passed. “My amendments included in the FY 2023 appropriations package coming before Congress… are an important step in combating this dangerous substance.”

The amendments include transferring $5 million to combat the illicit importation of opioids, including fentanyl, through international mail facilities and land ports-of-entry; and transferring $5 million to the HIDTA program to combat the increase in overdoses from fentanyl, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmaker’s office.