At a Thursday hearing of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) questioned Dr. Rahul Gupta of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which functions as part of the Executive Office of the President. She repeatedly pressed Gupta on issues related to immigration policy, which is not something that’s directly under his control.
As others during the hearing, she also spoke more generally about the crisis seen in the spread of fentanyl across the United States, pushing the idea that an increase in the rate of seizing fentanyl at the southern border means more has been coming in general rather than a positive sign because of an increasing crackdown.
Gupta shared an opposing perspective. “I think we have better technology,” Gupta said. “I think we have more committed men and women in uniform.”
“It is important to seize every piece of fentanyl that comes across our border,” Gupta continued. “But at the same time, it doesn’t begin or end at the border. It is important for us to look at the supply chain globally, as well as the profits that the traffickers are making as well as producers.”
Gupta also faced questioning during the hearing from fellow panel member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who scrutinized efforts at harm reduction that have been undertaken amid the expanding crisis. Harm reduction in this context includes efforts like making resources available to allow for the testing of an individual’s drug supply to see whether fentanyl is present, and Gupta defended such initiatives, arguing that a basic need for policy makers was to protect people’s lives. “What we’re trying to do right now is to meet people where they are,” he told the Georgia Republican. “Somebody’s overdosing, they need naloxone or narcan. I as a doctor, as you know this, can not treat dead people. So first thing we’ve got to do is keep people alive.”
Greene returned to conservative rhetoric on immigration policy, advocating for a more extensive wall at the southern border, as Trump and allies of his have long promoted.
Office of National Drug Control Policy Dir. Dr. Rahul Gupta: “We have more [fentanyl] seizures today than we have had at any time.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO): “Do you believe that’s because more is coming over than any other time?”
Gupta: “I think we have better technology.” pic.twitter.com/jEBbrj1DM0
— The Recount (@therecount) July 27, 2023