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  • Writer's pictureJess Marciano

Senator Chuck Schumer Visits Orleans County

Senator Chuck Schumer held a well-attended press conference in the Orleans County Legislative Chamber on Tuesday, August 2, to share progress in reducing the flow of Fentanyl into the United States from other countries.

It was a press conference that almost didn’t happen! A plane with a flat tire stuck on the runway at the Batavia airport blocked the scheduled landing, and required the Senator’s plane to divert to the Pine Hill Airport in Barre, perhaps the first time that a US Senator has ever landed there. The Senator later departed from Batavia.

Senator Schumer outlined some of the serious problems associated with Fentanyl in New York, as measured by emergency hospitalizations and deaths by overdose. Particularly concerning is that Fentenyl is the leading cause of teenage deaths. Fentenyl is fifty to one hundred times more deadly than heroin.

The US Senate has approved a bi-partisan bill, “The Fend-Off Fentenyl Act”, that would allow the President to place economic sanctions on countries that originate the ingredients used in Fentanyl (essentially China) and those that use those ingredients to manufacture the final product (essentially Mexico). The legislation is included in the National Defense Authorization Bill approved by the US Senate. It has not yet been approved by the House of Representatives. The Senator noted that the possibility of financial sanctions tends to move other governments from “discussion” to actual “action steps” for addressing the Fentanyl epidemic.

The Senator also addressed concerns about a newer illegal drug, Xylazine “The Skin-Rotting Drug” that has been found in Orleans and Genesee Counties, that when misdirected from intended veterinary use, has a devastating effect on public health.

The Senator introduced Orleans County District Attorney Joe Cardone and Orleans and Genesee County Health Director Paul Pettit, who also addressed the benefits of “The Fend- Off Fentenyl" legislation.

James Renfrew, OCDC

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