Be on Alert for Fentanyl “Candy” this Halloween – Dan Newhouse


Nothing says Halloween like candy corn, carved pumpkins, and children dressed up in costumes to go trick-or-treating. But this Halloween, parents will unfortunately face something much more haunting than ghosts—fentanyl disguised as candy.

Since August 2022, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its law enforcement partners have found brightly colored fentanyl and fentanyl pills, nicknamed “rainbow fentanyl” in 26 states, including much of the Pacific Northwest. According to the DEA, “this trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.” The DEA has already seized more than 10.2 million fentanyl pills and 980 pounds of fentanyl powder from May through September of this year—the equivalent of 36 million lethal doses. And that was before “rainbow fentanyl” hit the market.

In Washington State, fentanyl-involved drug overdose deaths are increasing exponentially, and preliminary data from the WA State Department of Health indicates that in 2020 they have become more common than heroin deaths and those involving commonly prescribed opioids. The worst part? The Biden Administration’s open-border policies and rhetoric are fueling this crisis. Indeed, most of the fentanyl in the U.S. is coming in through the southern border via regular criminal drug shipment routes. By keeping our border wide open, this administration is allowing illegal drugs to continue to flood into our communities, risking the lives of our families, friends, neighbors, and now children.

In addition to illegal drugs infiltrating our communities, for the first time in recorded history there have been over 2 million arrests at the southern border in a year. And these are not all well-intentioned migrant families looking for a better life. These numbers include a 453% increase in drug smuggler arrests and a 212% increase in sex offenders attempting to enter our neighborhoods.

There is no question that the crisis at our southern border is threatening the safety of our communities, our families, and our children. The only question is: what can we do about it?

First, we must fund effective border enforcement strategies that will prevent illegal crossings and cartel trafficking. My legislation, the Upholding the Law at Our Border Act will require the Department of Homeland security to investigate the vetting process of migrants apprehended at our southern border and ensure that all laws are being upheld. This bill will hold the Biden Administration accountable, requiring a report to be submitted to Congress with the number of individuals apprehended, the number of people who were released into the United States, and efforts of the Department of Homeland Security to monitor and provide the number and location of resettled illegal migrants.

Second, Congress must take action to end catch-and-release loopholes that are allowing illegal migrants to wander into our communities because of the Biden Administration’s “no consequences” policy for migrants who break the law. This incredibly irresponsible policy only serves to place the lives of our friends, family, and children at risk.

And third, Congress must pass legislation to permanently schedule fentanyl as a Schedule I substance through the DEA. I introduced legislation, the Save Americans from the Fentanyl Emergency Act, that would ensure law enforcement can continue to prosecute the sale and use of these substances. Congress cannot continue to temporarily schedule fentanyl; it is time for a permanent solution to hold criminals accountable and prevent this deadly substance from reaching our communities.

Finally, I want to encourage parents in Central Washington to stay on the alert and make sure to double-check their children’s candy this year—not just for Halloween, but for the foreseeable future. While it is very unfortunate that families in our communities can no longer solely focus on the fun traditions of Halloween, it is important to stay vigilant and keep our children safe.

Republicans are ready and waiting to secure our border and combat illegal immigration. It is far past time that we take tangible action with real results to address the ongoing border crisis. I am committed to doing just that—for our families, neighbors, and children in Central Washington, and across the United States.

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