FOX5: Fentanyl overdoses surge in Virginia; New bill targets online sales

FOX5, TOM FITZGERALD

From 2021-2023 in Prince William County, Police Chief Peter Newsham says they’ve seen 177 fatal fentanyl overdoses, including 10 suspected overdose deaths in 2024.

Faced with the alarming numbers of fentanyl overdoses in Virginia, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger tells FOX 5 she’s introducing a new bipartisan bill aimed at stopping online sales of counterfeit pills that are laced with fentanyl. 

“Crisis” is a word that gets used to describe a lot of things, but when it comes to fentanyl overdoses in Prince William County, the police chief tells FOX 5 that “a crisis” is the only way to describe what they are dealing with.

Congresswoman Spanberger has teamed up with Chief Newsham to highlight the Congresswoman’s bipartisan bill to fight the online sale of fentanyl in counterfeit pills. 

The Targeting Online Sales of Fentanyl Act investigates online sales of fentanyl through counterfeit pills and determines if law enforcement and online companies are doing enough to stop the sales.

“The reality is that fentanyl is a money-making endeavor,” Spanberger said Tuesday. “They are using aggressive and highly technical and highly aggressive means in which to get those drugs across the border.”

“That’s real. That’s happening,” Chief Newsham explained. “The folks that are distributing fentanyl are purposely trying to deceive folks by creating these pressed pills that look like prescription drugs to fool people into using them thinking they’re safe, and ultimately they’re not!” Chief Newsham explained. 

The attorney general of Arizona says over half of the fentanyl seized in the U.S. was seized at Arizona’s border with Mexico. Officials there are looking here to Capitol Hill to provide final funding, so they can start using high-tech fentanyl screening that would detect the drugs.

 Spanberger has assembled a high profile group of co-sponsors for this fentanyl bill. In the house Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw in the house has signed on. The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz and New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker.

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