Press Releases

Congressional Panel

ATLANTA, GA -- The 2023 Rx and Illicit Drug Summit featured a congressional panel on day two of the 12th annual conference led by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05), Dean of the House, who launched the national summit to help combat America's deadly epidemic. Congressman Rogers was joined by Congressmen David Trone (D-MD), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), and Andrew Clyde (R-GA) to discuss federal policy and legislation that can help save lives. Karen Kelly, who cofounded the Rx Summit alongside Congressman Rogers, moderated the federal discussion. 

Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted nearly 15,000 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border. In the first three months of this fiscal year, they had already seized another 12,500 pounds. 

"I applaud our heroes at the border and our U.S. Coast Guard for being our first line of defense against drug trafficking," said Congressman Rogers. "I cosponsored the HALT Act to permanently schedule fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substance Act, giving law enforcement the tools they need to bring justice in these cases."

Congressman Trone is a founding member of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, which introduced over 100 bills and passed 26 of them into law during the last Congress. 

"My nephew died of a fentanyl overdose alone in a hotel room in 2016 on New Year's Eve. That motivated me to run for Congress and I've made this a singular issue with mental health and criminal justice reform, because of the connectivity between them, and we're going to continue to do this in a bipartisan way," said Congressman Trone. "We need those of you on the front lines of this epidemic to bring your ideas to us. This has to be a comprehensive partnership." 

As a pharmacist, Congressman Carter has advocated for expanded access to naloxone, a life-saving drug that can be used to revive individuals during overdoses. During the discussion, he shared his concerns about the influx of fentanyl leading to more overdose deaths in the U.S.

"If we lost 200 people in an airplane crash, we would stop every plane from flying right now and figure out what went wrong. Yet we continue to lose 200 people everyday to fentanyl poisoning. This has to stop and we have to secure the southern border," said Congressman Carter. "We have to make sure that we have programs that work. Fentanyl poisoning is the number one cause of death for people ages 18 to 45." 

Congressman Cartwright, who previously practiced law for 25 years, shared his appreciation for law enforcement and drug treatment courts. 

"These veteran treatment courts and drug treatment courts divert eligible offenders from incarceration to court supervised treatment programs that integrate substance use disorder treatment, mandatory drug testing, incentives, sanctions and recovery support services. Its a wonderful use of resources," said Congressman Cartwright. "In 2020, prescription opioids were to blame for 24 percent of all opioid overdose deaths, so its obvious there's more work to be done. I've been forwarding the Addiction Prevention and Responsible Opioid Practices Act. It's a bill that takes a comprehensive approach to opioid abuse disorder before it starts by reining in what we think is an excessive volume of addictive opioids on the market." 

Congressman Clyde, a combat veteran, advocated for more resources at the southern border to stop the flow of illicit drugs coming into the country. 

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Where we need to start is preventing opioids from getting into this country and preventing people from accessing the illegal drugs," said Congressman Clyde. "The vast amount of fentanyl comes from China and into the Mexican cartels who then push it across the southern border and it infiltrates every single solitary state of the union, making every state a border state and that's the place we need to start to stop this epidemic."

For more information about the 2023 Rx and Illicit Drug Summit, visit