Just back from the border, Nunn talks with Iowans about stopping opioids

ATLANTIC — Third District Congressman Zach Nunn held a meeting recently in southwest Iowa to share information about the development of new approaches to fight the opioid crisis in rural Iowa. Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, says many dangerous drugs like fentanyl, which are made in China, are making their way into the U.S. through Mexico.

“The first thing we can do is to try and save a life when and where we can do it,” Nunn says. That is why the Overdose Reversal Medication Act is so important, to make Narcan available to families, for communities, for school districts, he says. “Here in the state, we’ve tried to move forward on this in a very productive way, but it’s very important that our law enforcement and our first responders have access to that, as well as our family.”

Nunn said he had just returned from the Yuma, Arizona border crossing. He says more needs to be done to control and push back against the production of synthetic drugs in China and Mexico.

“When a foreign entity or domestic entity are allowing this to happen, we have to treat that as the threat that it is,” Nunn says. “So at the strategic level, we have to do more to make sure that not only China and Mexico and the cartels within Mexico are being held accountable, that we see this as the true national security threat that it is.”

Nunn says President Biden needs to do more to prevent the scourge of drugs from coming across the border.

“Make sure that we have a Remain in Mexico policy that ensures that when people come across the border, they’re being vetted and that they’re being reviewed,” Nunn says. “Additionally, we can make sure that when there’s a violation that happens in the United States with someone who came here illegally, as we saw in New York, when they commit violence, when they perpetrate drugs, they don’t get to sit here and wait for a court trial, they’re immediately deported.”

Dr. Elaine Berry, Cass County’s chief medical officer and the county medical examiner, says most of overdose deaths are due to stimulants, like methamphetamine or fentanyl. Berry says fentanyl is particularly deadly.

“It is very cheap to make compared to other drugs and it’s a huge threat for an overdose,” she says, “because very, very tiny amounts are extremely powerful. Just a little tiny crystal of it could cause an overdose.”

Nunn says the opioid crisis impacts every community and that fentanyl is the number-one leading cause of death for folks from his age down to his daughter’s age. He says more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 were attributed to synthetic opioids other than methadone, primarily fentanyl. The meeting was held last Friday in Atlantic.