FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2023
WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Ranking Member Mike Braun released a report entitled, “The Silent Epidemic, Fentanyl and Older Americans,” which examines the increase in overdose deaths among older Americans as the U.S. continues to grapple with the dangers of fentanyl which is primarily smuggled across the southern border.
Among Americans 65 and older, overdose deaths quadrupled across the last two decades, and evidence suggests that synthetic drugs like fentanyl are adding to these fatalities.
“We often talk about fentanyl becoming the number one killer of young people, but it’s killing at every age. The silent epidemic of fentanyl flowing from our southern border is robbing our seniors of their golden years.”— Sen. Mike Braun
Recommendations from the report include:
- Reducing the supply of synthetic drugs
- Congress and the administration should take immediate action to enhance border security and confront China in order to tackle the drug crisis at its core. This also includes reducing the distribution of illicit fentanyl in our communities through legislation like the Braun-sponsored, Felony Murder for Deadly Fentanyl Distribution Act, which makes the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death punishable by federal felony murder charges.
- Raising awareness among seniors
- Prevention messaging should be tailored to older adults. Policymakers and stakeholders should sound the alarm to raise awareness about synthetics’ threat to older adults, especially counterfeit pills. Just one can kill. The public should understand and recognize that synthetics are extremely lethal, mixed in other drugs —both licit and illicit—and increasingly found in common pills like Oxycodone, Xanax, and Adderall. Public health systems should also update their consideration of older Americans and substance use to reflect changing patterns of behavior and new drug developments.
- Collecting more data on synthetic drug use by seniors
- Policymakers and stakeholders should ensure that adequate research and data are available to fully understand the scale of synthetics’ impact on older Americans. There is a clear need for additional research on older Americans and substance use, and for federal agencies to coordinate with states on improved data. More information, and higher quality surveys and reporting, especially on synthetics, would help guide policy responses.
Read the full report here.
Read the exclusive story with Fox News here.