By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
Hays County, Texas, resident Brandon Dunn lost his son to illicit fentanyl poisoning last year. His son and two other teenage boys from the same rural county died of fentanyl overdoses less than 60 days apart.
Dunn testified Wednesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, which held its first hearing on “The Biden Border Crisis, Part One.” The second hearing will be held in Yuma, Arizona.
RELATED: Children Under 14 Dying from Fentanyl Poisoning at Faster Rate Than Any Other Age Group
Dunn is the co-founder of The Forever 15 Project, a nonprofit he and his wife founded after their son, Noah, died last August.
A high school sophomore, Noah “was murdered by a drug dealer selling counterfeit Percocet pills,” Dunn testified. The pill contained no Percocet. Instead, it contained 8 milligrams of fentanyl, he said. Two milligrams is considered a lethal dose.
Noah was the first of three fentanyl victims in less than two months in the rural county located southwest of Austin. Two other teenage boys died from counterfeit Xanax and Percocet pills containing illicit fentanyl last summer, prompting the Hays County Independent School District to launch a campaign to educate parents and students about fake prescription pills and illicit fentanyl. Nurses’ offices, local law enforcement and other agencies in the county stocked up on NARCAN, the lifesaving drug that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose.
Shortly afterwards, U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, worked with Boerne ISD to produce a public service announcement warning parents and students about the dangers of illicit fentanyl.
“One pill kills,” he and others warn.
Dunn cried throughout his entire testimony. He took issue with a comment Ranking Member Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, made in his opening remarks, claiming the majority of drugs are being confiscated at ports of entry.
RELATED: Florida Law Enforcement Officers Seize Enough Fentanyl to Kill State’s Entire Population
Because illicit fentanyl is being smuggled in through the southern border, Dunn said, “given the lethality of this drug any amount smuggled in in a backpack or a fanny pack or even in somebody’s pocket can be enough to kill thousands of people.
“It’s not just a border checkpoint issue. Without immediate medical intervention, a person is not likely to survive. That’s how fast it kills.”
A fourth teenager died in Hays County in January from fentanyl poisoning, Dunn said in response to a question from Roy. During the Christmas break, six were saved by using NARCAN; another eight were saved using NARCAN last summer.
Texas law enforcement officers working through Operation Lone Star have told The Center Square they are more concerned about what’s coming through between ports of entry – volumes of drugs at levels they’ve never seen before. Since March 2021, OLS officers alone have seized enough fentanyl between ports of entry and throughout Texas to kill everyone in the United States, and the seizures and volumes keep going up.
Dunn also testified about a trend of young teenagers being killed from the illicit drug.
“In our activism work we’ve come across several families who’ve lost their children to illicit fentanyl,” he said. “In the five months since Noah’s passing, we’ve met 28 other families who’ve lost children to illicit fentanyl, including children as young as 13.
“For us, this isn’t a political issue,” he added. “It’s about the safety of our children and the citizens of our country. We are working with several legislators, who are primarily Democrats, to stop this from happening.”
RELATED: Florida AG Warns of ‘Frightening’ New Trends in Fentanyl Distribution
According to data analyzed by Families Against Fentanyl, children under 14 are dying at a faster rate from illicit fentanyl poisoning than any other age group.
Naloxone/NARCAN (generic/brand), a life-saving drug, is available in every state and the District of Columbia, accessible for free and low cost online, through a range of community organizations, and through pharmacies with or without a prescription and with or without insurance.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.
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