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October 25, 2022

Peltola joins lawmakers in introducing ‘Bruce’s Law,’ legislation addressing Fentanyl Crisis

Credit: KINY

On Tuesday Congressman David Trone, alongside Reps. Hal Rogers, Doug Lamborn, and Mary Sattler Peltola, introduced Bruce’s Law, new legislation that will authorize Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants and expand federal agencies’ efforts to raise awareness about fentanyl.

In 2021, there were a record-high 108,000 drug overdose deaths across the nation – over 75 percent involved opioids – and fentanyl-related deaths among adolescents jumped 350 percent between 2019 and 2021, according to a release. A recent survey of 13 to 24-year-olds found that 40 percent had never heard of drug deaths involving fentanyl.

Bruce’s Law seeks to establish a federal interagency effort to raise public awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and allocate funding to community organizations and coalitions to engage in similar education efforts.

Bruce’s Law is named for Robert “Bruce” Snodgrass, a 22-year-old Alaskan who was one of the 72,000 Americans who died from a synthetic opioid-related overdose last year. 

“Alaska saw a 71% increase in fentanyl-related deaths from 2020 to 2021,” said Congresswoman Peltola (D-AK). “This epidemic is not only an issue in my state but a serious issue nationwide. There are very few families across our nation that have not had a loved one experience opioid addiction or death. This legislation is critical to ensuring our communities have the resources they need to educate the public on the dangers of fentanyl. I’m proud to join my colleagues in advocating for its passage.” 

This bill aims to address the rise in fentanyl use and fatalities impacting young people like Bruce by; authorizing an interagency public awareness campaign led by the HHS Secretary on synthetic opioids and substance use; Establishing a federal interagency working group under the HHS Secretary to review federal efforts to reduce synthetic opioid overdoses and establish recommendations on youth-targeted education; Creating new Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants focused on youth-based prevention efforts.

The program would also allow Drug-Free Communities Coalitions to access new funding specifically to focus on the dangers of drugs containing synthetic opioids. 

In the Senate, Bruce’s Law was introduced by Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dianne Feinstein, Dan Sullivan, and Maggie Hassan in June 2022.