Bryan Steil Takes A Stand Against The Rising Fentanyl Crisis
August 29, 2022

Tamira Musgrave



  • Bryan Steil hosted a roundtable in Janesville, WI, to discuss the plan of action concerning the rising fentanyl crisis. 
  • The CDC estimates that over 108,000 Americans have died from overdoses between February 2021 and February 2022. 
  • Epic and the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) revealed Fentanyl was only tested in patients during 5% of overdose-related emergency department visits. 
  • Biden Administration focuses on sending out safe-smoking kits that include drug paraphernalia instead of addressing skyrocketing issues at the border.

Bryan Steil hosted a roundtable event in Janesville, Wisconsin, to help raise awareness and fight against the increasingly concerning fentanyl epidemic. The event’s goal was to discuss the tactics the federal government can act on to keep Wisconsin’s residents, families, and communities safe.

Others attended the roundtable, including leaders from North Central High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) and Rock County Sheriff’s Office. Medical experts were also involved in these discussions concerning the increase of fentanyl in Rock County. Law enforcement is working hard to keep these fatal substances off the streets of Wisconsin. We’ve heard horror stories of officers becoming ill or even passing out after exposure to this toxic substance. 

Guests who attended the roundtable:

  • Congressman Bryan Steil
  • Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson
  • North Central HIDTA Deputy Director Scott Albrecht
  • Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Agnieszka Rogalska
  • Deputy Zachary Anacker – Rock County Sherriff’s Office
  • Amy Evans – Jail Re-Entry Specialist
  • Jeremy Duncan – Beloit Resident and Former RECAP Participant

Additional attendees included: 

  • Chief Deputy Craig Strouse – Rock County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chief David Moore – City of Janesville Police Department
  • Chief Scott Marquardt – City of Milton Police Department
  • Chief Robert Kowalski – City of Edgerton Police Department
  • Chief Mike Schultz – Village of Clinton Police Department
  • Chief Thomas Kunkel – Towns of Fulton & Milton Police Department
  • Chief Brian Raupp – Village of Footville Police Department
  • Chief LeAnn Jones – Town of Beloit Police Department
  • Chief Scott Burdick Jr. – Village of Orfordville Police Department

Communities in Southeast Wisconsin are feeling the impact of fentanyl use. Fathers are losing their sons. Mothers are losing their daughters. People must live with the heavy, unimaginable pain of losing their loved ones.

The government must step up and stand firm, ensuring time and resources are not wasted. Planning, funding, and dedication will all have to be put into addressing this issue quickly before we lose more Americans. 

“In Rock County, there were 47 overdose deaths from illicit fentanyl in 2021. 65% of overdose deaths are from fentanyl-related substances. I will continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to prevent this dangerous substance from devastating our communities. I am working to raise awareness of the dangers of illicit fentanyl, particularly when far too many victims are unaware they are taking it,” Rep. Bryan Steil stated during the event. 

U.S. Fentanyl Overdose Statistics 

The CDC estimates that over 108,000 Americans have died from overdoses between February 2021 and February 2022. More than 70% of these deaths involved fentanyl and various synthetic opioids. Cheap production has caused this drug to boom over recent years, making it more accessible to young adults and youth as time goes on. 

Customs and Border Protection agents now see vibrant, rainbow, candy-like fentanyl pills at the U.S./Mexico border. These pills are quite literally targeting our youth. 

Since Fentantly is one of the primary causes of opioid-related overdose and death, you’d think they would be testing left and right when overdose victims are brought in. But, unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. 

About 5% of overdose-related emergency issues are provided with a toxicology screening for fentanyl, limiting the actual data. With so many losing loved ones to this substance, it’s pretty unsettling to hear this. How can we battle a monster we don’t understand if this is the case? Especially one that is 50-100x more potent than morphine. 

Well, a group of researchers from Epic and the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) decided to take a closer look at patterns in toxicology screenings. The researchers used deidentified Cosmos data to observe these patterns in more than 315,000 emergency department overdose visits across the United States. These visits occurred between 2017-2022, and their findings included:

  • Fentanyl was only tested in patients during 5% of overdose-related emergency department visits. The opiate testing rate is close to 50%.
  • In patients tested for fentanyl, positivity rates often exceed 40%, around 3x that of opiates such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. 
  • The positivity rate for opiates has dropped since 2017 to below 14%. This data may suggest that heroin users may now be exposed to fentanyl. 

Many drug users are known to switch from one substance to another to help reach that sensation of euphoria they seek. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about 80% of heroin users had previously used prescription painkillers. These trends also ring true for other illegal substances, such as the dropping positivity rates for opiates and skyrocketing rates for fentanyl. 

Congressman Steil Fights Fentanyl

Bryan Steil has been leading Congress in the fight against illicit fentanyl. He’s eager to address the multitude of adverse effects it has on the residents and communities of Wisconsin. Steil composed the HALT Fentanyl Act this year, legislation that makes fentanyl a permanent Schedule I drug. The letter included over 116 Members of Congress urging the Biden administration to take action against illicit fentanyl and sponsored two amendments that passed the House to combat this issue. 

In Kenosha County, police have reported increasing overdose deaths from heroin laced with fentanyl. We must bring as much awareness to this issue as possible to prevent the flow of illicit fentanyl trespassing in our communities. Steil has taken a firm stance against illicit fentanyl and promises to take action to protect our youth and our neighborhoods from this dangerous drug. Mexican drug cartels are smuggling enough of this illegal drug into our country to kill all of us, and it needs to stop now. 

The Biden Administration Fails To Act 

Why are these letters and voices going unheard? Illicit drugs are practically pouring into the country through the southern border, and Harris has been placed in charge of the country’s massive illegal immigration problem. Immigrants and drug traffickers are swarming the border at record-breaking highs. This failure to uphold this responsibility is producing dire consequences. 

Harris doesn’t seem surprised that fentanyl overdoses are the leading cause of death for individuals 18-45, which is more deadly than car accidents, cancer, and suicide. Drug overdoses are also much more fatal for this age group than COVID-19. While the Biden administration continuously pushes ineffective policies and mandates via fearmongering, people die daily from these overdoses as fentanyl snakes its way into our neighborhoods and communities. 

The administration would prefer sending out “safe smoking kits” to drug abusers to “promote racial equity” than address the illegal immigration and drug smuggling crisis at our border.

Conservatives have been shut down when comparing these kits to “handing out crack pipes.” Jen Psaki commented about the alleged crack pipes in these kits, “They were never a part of the kit; it was inaccurate reporting.” 

We’ve found convincing evidence from the Washington Free Beacon indicating that she was lying. They visited five harm-reduction organizations, and every one of them had included a glass pipe in the kit. Take a look at these photos from The Washington Free Beacon’s investigation:

Even if Psaki was telling the truth, sending out kits containing bits and pieces of junk like lip balm or alcohol swabs isn’t going to solve anything. Add a crack pipe into that kit; you could even say the Biden administration is our nation’s great enabler. The kit is part of SAMHSA’s Harm Reduction Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to “help Americans struggling with substance abuse avoid overdose death.” 

How would chapstick, bundles of copper mesh, straws, plastic razor blades, pre-cut foil squares, metal screens, and glass pipes stop these addicted individuals from overdosing?

This is the administration’s course of action as of now. They also claim that taxpayer money isn’t being funneled into funding these kits, but have already lied about what’s included in the kits.

One of the first places to start is the border crisis, not sending out kits to addicts that make abusing drugs easier. The lack of sense of urgency must stop now if we are ever to gain control over this rampant drug problem.

How Can I Help Spread Awareness?

The DEA has put together a special exhibit intending to spread the word about the dangers of fentanyl. “The Faces of Fentanyl” commemorates all the lives lost from fentanyl poisoning. In addition, anyone can submit a photograph of a loved one to [email protected]

If you want to do more to help, you can always donate to fentanyl awareness funds like the FAC or Fentanyl Awareness Coalition. An organization founded by grieving loved ones who know firsthand the devastating feeling of loss. 

Another organization, Facing Fentanyl, a nonprofit fentanyl awareness coalition, sent a letter to Biden asking him to declare a national emergency on the illicit fentanyl crisis. This drug is actively poisoning hundreds of thousands of Americans and deserves immediate action and government response. 

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