Schatz, Murkowski lead oversight hearing on federal resources to address fentanyl in Native communities
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, recently led an oversight hearing titled, “Fentanyl in Native Communities: Federal Perspectives on Addressing the Growing Crisis,” a continuation of the Committee’s oversight work on fentanyl.
“Our hearing last month was important – not just for our work in this Committee and Congress, but also for the Executive Branch – to better understand the situation on the ground and inform our next steps. That’s why today’s hearing with our federal panel is an important follow-up,” said Chairman Schatz. “The United States must live up to its trust and treaty responsibilities to promote the health and wellbeing of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, and that responsibility must include responding to modern threats, including illicit fentanyl.”
“In our second hearing in a series on fentanyl, federal witnesses outlined the challenges that they face as they work to address the health and public safety impacts affecting Native people,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “Drug traffickers are targeting Native communities because so many of these communities are more rural, isolated, with less law enforcement presence, and traffickers can charge more for their products. Congress must provide better support for federal agencies, law enforcement at all levels, and Native communities to end this crisis.”
The following witnesses participated in the oversight hearing:
- Adam W. Cohen, Deputy Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Washington, DC
- The Honorable Roselyn Tso, Director, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
- The Honorable Vanessa Waldref, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Washington, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC
- Richard “Glen” Melville, Deputy Bureau Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs – Office of Justice Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
The full video of the oversight hearing is available here.