Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, ranking Republican on the state House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee, has been appointed by U.S. Congressman Dan Newhouse to serve on the Central Washington Fentanyl Task Force.
Newhouse, a Republican who serves Washington’s 4th Congressional District, launched the task force on Wednesday, calling it “a vital initiative aimed at combatting the escalating fentanyl crisis plaguing communities across Central Washington and the United States.”
Mosbrucker, R-Goldendale, was recently instrumental in bringing Republicans and Democrats together on a compromise agreement for a new state drug possession law that enacted a combination of modified gross misdemeanor penalties and treatment for people addicted to hard drugs, such as fentanyl. The legislation passed during a one-day special session on May 16.
“Washington state is experiencing a drug crisis like we’ve never seen before, and fentanyl has been the leading driver. Drug overdoses in the past year are up by 21 percent. Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among adults in our state. In 2021, fentanyl accounted for 765 overdose deaths, more than car crashes and suicides. That number continues to rise as this drug overshadows our communities,” said Mosbrucker. “One pill equals one kill with fentanyl, destroying the lives of mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and innocent little children. We need to do everything we can to stop this scourge and prevent further loss of life.”
According to Newhouse, the 20-member Central Washington Fentanyl Task Force will address the entire spectrum of issues tied to the fentanyl crisis, focusing on enforcement, education, prevention, and treatment. The group will meet quarterly. The goal of the group will be to research, discuss, and execute well-informed initiatives that will do the following to address the fentanyl crisis in Central Washington:
- Compile data from federal, state, and local communities to assess trends in the fentanyl crisis accurately.
- Assess current resources available to the public and frontline workers, and where potential shortcomings may exist.
- Discuss potential legislative action on the federal, state, and local levels.
- Help organizations and local leaders educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl and opportunities for treatment.
“I am honored to serve on Representative Newhouse’s task force and hope we can soon find some workable solutions that save lives,” added Mosbrucker.
# # #