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Congressman Wenstrup Hosts Community Roundtable on the Dangers of Fentanyl with Local Officials

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Cincinnati, OH - Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) hosted a community roundtable in Clermont County Wednesday on the dangers of illicit fentanyl with families, advocates, law enforcement, and community members who have seen its devastating effects on the region firsthand. 

"In the past year, synthetic opioids like fentanyl have killed someone every seven minutes. Our community here in southern Ohio has seen the devastation wrought by illicit fentanyl firsthand. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to sit down with families and leaders to discuss what needs to be done to stop this deadly poison flowing across our porous border from killing our families, neighbors, and friends. Curing this deathly ill involves a comprehensive approach: we need to secure the border and catch traffickers, work on addiction prevention,  and create successful treatments for every individual so they can move on to a constructive life," said Congressman Wenstrup. "I have introduced legislation in Congress to declare illicit fentanyl what it is: a weapon of mass destruction. My bill uses the same definition of weapon of mass destruction as the Department of Homeland Security, and would assess the capacity of the Mexican military to conduct counterdrug missions for illicit fentanyl; the capacity and willingness of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl and hold traffickers accountable; and how Federal efforts to address trafficking can be improved. I'm grateful to everyone who participated in today's roundtable for fighting to protect our community and loved ones from the dangers of illicit fentanyl."

"I am extremely proud of the Sheriff’s deputies who are relentless with investigations involving fentanyl overdoses and trafficking in Clermont County. Equally important, I am thankful for the partnerships we maintain with the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board related to our efforts to educate citizens about the deadly effects of fentanyl along with the ripple effects on families and the community," said Chris Stratton, Chief Deputy of Clermont County Sheriff's Office.

"It was an honor to represent Milford Schools at today's Fentanyl Roundtable. This is a critical issue facing all communities and ours is no exception. Milford Schools has strong supports in place for our students, including mental health services, a DARE officer through the Miami Township Police Department, and a partnership with the Coalition for a Drug-Free Clermont County. But at a time when fentanyl is increasingly pervasive in everything from street vapes to marijuana to methamphetamines, one impulsive decision can have devastating consequences for a student or their family. We are grateful for everything Congressman Wenstrup is doing to support funding of prevention and treatment, as well as interdiction at the border," said Krista Boyle, Director of Public Relations and Communications for Milford Schools.

"The fentanyl crisis has adversely impacted our families and our children, who are often seen as collateral damage. This crisis must be treated as the major health problem that it is, which requires impactful prevention measures. Prevention programs in the schools are important. Equally important is equipping, educating and empowering parents and caregivers with knowledge so they can have their own conversations with their kids starting early and occurring often, all the way through to adulthood," said Laura Stith, Chief Clinical Officer, Behavioral Health Division Officer for Child Focus.

“Thank you Congressman Wenstrup for leading a thoughtful conversation on such a challenging and complex subject. Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board is proud to have a seat at the table with you and our community partners. We share your dedication to ensuring that the residents of Clermont County are receiving quality behavioral health services so that people can recover and lead more fulfilling and productive lives," said Denny Moell, Associate Director of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board.

"We appreciate being a part of the ongoing fight against fentanyl in our country and the impact that Congressman Wenstrup is having on making a difference and fighting for change in our government. This is an American problem as fentanyl knows no boundaries. We must fight this problem together. Thank you for including Do It For Jack: The Jack Quehl Foundation in this very informative and impactful round table," said Stephanie & Tom Quehl, Founders of Do it For Jack.

“Ohio is leading the way when it comes to fighting illicit fentanyl on all fronts, and Congressman Wenstrup is at the tip of the spear. I am grateful for his invitation today to announce the $18 million judgment against the Zheng cartel in China whose trafficking in illicit fentanyl directly led to the death of my son Tom," said Jim Rauh, Founder of Families Against Fentanyl. "I likewise commend Congressman Wenstrup for his bill calling for the federal government to declare illicit fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction. From sanctions to increased interdiction efforts and WMD designation — the bad actors abroad pushing this poison into our country are now on notice: the United States will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of justice for those we have lost to this scourge.” 

“Getting to sit with Congressman Wenstrup today was eye opening for me. I was thankful to be part of the conversation, but even more grateful that Clermont County has a representative who is so invested into our community," said Kelsey Smothers, Director of the Clermont County Drug Free Coalition. "Our youth are the future of Clermont County, and the only way to help them be successful is to reduce stigma, spread awareness, and provide education to them on the dangers of substance use, especially with the fentanyl crisis that we are seeing. Thank you to Congressman and his team for inviting us to discuss such an important topic!”