TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Sen. Roger Marshall is advocating for new legislation to combat an ongoing fentanyl crisis.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is now a leading killer for adults ages 18 to 45.
In an exclusive interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau, Marshall spoke about how his new bill will target drug trafficking online.
“We’re introducing legislation that would put the onus on social media companies to inform authorities when there are drugs that are being trafficked online,” Marshall said. “… WeChats, Snapchats, Facebooks of the world… we need to hold those folks accountable.”
Social media companies, like Facebook, have been scrutinized over privacy issues in the past. The Kansas Capitol Bureau asked Marshall whether he perceived a potential clash with social media companies over releasing user information to law enforcement.
“We’ve had no direct communications, and frankly, I don’t care,” Marshall said. “I think this is the right thing to push them in this direction. They should be proactive, and they can be much, much more proactive. It goes way beyond just drug trafficking; it’s human trafficking as well. I want them to be more proactive, but we can’t wait any longer. We need to act yesterday to protect the lives of children today.”
Other Republican legislators have held roundtable discussions with law enforcement in the state. Kansas Representative Jake LaTurner joined officers in Topeka last week to discuss how fentanyl is impacting northeast Kansas communities. Kansas City law enforcement officers seized over 15,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills in May.
According to the state’s department of health, Kansas saw a 54% increase in drug overdoses in 2021, nearly half were caused by fentanyl.
Republican lawmakers have linked the increase in drug trafficking to issues at the U.S. southern border, where they say an ‘unprecedented’ amount of drug seizures have taken place. LaTurner reiterated these comments at a press conference, following the roundtable discussion.
“Law enforcement at the border does not have the resources that we need to combat the drug cartels,” LaTurner said. “We haven’t secured the border the way that we need to in this country. For some reason, this is an issue that gets wrapped around politics, and it’s shameful. This has nothing to do with politics. This is about kids around this country dying every single day, because a lot of folks in Washington can’t get their act together.”