April 19, 2023

Young Outlines Steps to Address Fentanyl Epidemic, Protect Young Americans

Drug Crisis Speech Photo

**Click here or above to watch Senator Young’s floor speech.**


WASHINGTON, D.C. –– U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the rapidly increasing number of young Americans tragically losing their lives to drug overdoses and outlined steps to address the fentanyl epidemic.

“This crisis knows no region, no class, no party. No American family is immune from it,” said Young. “We cannot let the deaths of so many young Americans be for naught.”

Young discussed two pieces of recently introduced legislation that would address aspects of the fentanyl crisis. He also called on the Biden Administration to secure the southern border to help stop the flow of drugs into the United States.

To watch Senator Young’s full remarks, click here.

Senator Young’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker, we are about to enter graduation season.

Seventeen and eighteen year-olds should be attending their senior prom, preparing to finish high school, and looking forward to their futures. 

They should not be in the obituaries of the local newspaper.

Their high school lockers should not be makeshift memorials covered in flowers.

And yet, all over America, they are.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45.

A rapidly increasing number of the dead are teenagers.

The rate of teen overdoses since the pandemic have more than doubled compared to the decade before.Between 2019 and 2021, the number of deaths caused by fentanyl among 10-19 year-olds increased by 182 percent.

This is due almost entirely to the fentanyl found in counterfeit pills, many of which are sold via social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat.

The drug is incredibly lethal – two milligrams, the equivalent of 10 grains of salt, can kill. It’s inexpensive to produce and exponentially more dangerous than heroin or morphine.  

Even the overdose rate of children five and under is growing.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying, so many of our kids among them.

How can we be powerless to prevent it?

To all the families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl:

We grieve with you…

We share your anger…

And we vow not to let your loved one’s death be in vain.

It is past time we took the fight to the monsters who traffic this poison, who profit from our loss.

First, we know that the majority of fentanyl is making its way into our communities via Mexico.

To President Biden and his Administration: Secure. The. Southern. Border. NOW.

Second, let’s give the frontline soldiers in this fight the tools to keep fentanyl off our streets.

The HALT Fentanyl Act, which my colleagues and I recently introduced, would do this.

It would permanently classify fentanyl-related drugs as Schedule I, deeming them dangerously addictive with no medical value, and hold those who deal it liable to civil and criminal punishment.

This legislation would enable our law enforcement officials to better fight the impact of this deadly drug.

Lastly, we need to cut off the dealers’ back channels to our children.

We know that pushers prey on teenagers across social media platforms, embedding advertisements with emojis or codes.

Social media companies must work with the federal government to shut down these one-stop digital drug shops.

Another recently introduced bill, the Cooper Davis Act, would require social media companies to play their part in this fight and duly report drug trafficking across their platforms.

To accomplish this, our bill would create a standardized reporting system with the federal government, modeled after the existing reporting system for child sexual abuse material on social media platforms. 

The Cooper Davis Act is a bipartisan proposal, reflecting the scale of devastation caused by the drug crisis.

This crisis knows no region, no class, no party. No American family is immune from it.

By securing the border, passing the HALT Fentanyl Act, and passing the Cooper Davis Act, we can start to rally a true national response to this crisis. 

We cannot let the deaths of so many young Americans be for naught.

Enough is enough.