Angela Kennecke Addresses Fentanyl Crisis and Legislation on KELOLAND News at 4

Angela Kennecke, President/CEO of Emily’s Hope, appeared on KELOLAND News at 4 to discuss the pressing fentanyl crisis and various legislative initiatives before Congress and the South Dakota Legislature.

During the interview, Angela Kennecke expressed her strong support for House Bill 1028, a significant legislative effort aimed at combating the fentanyl epidemic. She highlighted alarming data revealing a 276% increase in fentanyl-related deaths involving xylazine over the past three and a half years. In response to this concerning trend, House Bill 1028, which classifies xylazine as a Schedule III controlled substance, was unanimously approved by the House Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. Angela emphasized the importance of this bill in addressing the growing crisis.

Angela also discussed another crucial piece of legislation, the FEND (Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence) Off Fentanyl Act, which enjoys bipartisan support. This bill aims to disrupt the supply of fentanyl from chemical suppliers in China and drug cartels in Mexico. It proposes sanctions on cartel leaders and money launderers involved in trafficking fentanyl. Furthermore, the bill directs funds from the seized property of traffickers toward bolstering law enforcement efforts and enhancing reporting mechanisms related to U.S. government actions against fentanyl trafficking. Angela Kennecke underscored the importance of tackling the international supply chain in the fight against overdose deaths.

In addition to legislative efforts, Angela highlighted the vital role of prevention in addressing the fentanyl crisis. She emphasized the work being done by Emily’s Hope through its Substance Use Prevention Curriculum, currently reaching over 5,000 students in four states, from kindergarten to fifth grade. The organization’s Education Committee is actively developing a companion curriculum for grades 6-12. Angela emphasized the critical need to reduce the demand for drugs through education and awareness.

Furthermore, Emily’s Hope is actively involved in harm reduction efforts, including the distribution of free fentanyl testing strips to locations such as bars, tattoo parlors, and music festivals in the Sioux Falls and Mitchell areas. The organization’s partnership with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has enabled the launch of free Narcan Distribution efforts. The first shipments of Narcan have arrived, and repurposed newspaper boxes, featuring QR codes that lead to Emily’s Hope’s webpage with information on Narcan and its usage, are being deployed as distribution points.

Angela Kennecke’s appearance on KELOLAND News at 4 shed light on the multifaceted approach being taken by Emily’s Hope to combat the fentanyl crisis, from legislative advocacy to prevention and harm reduction efforts.