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Congress members from Kansas City team up across the aisle to fight fentanyl crisis

FILE - In this June 27, 2018 file photo, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., asks a question during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Housing advocates are raising the alarm about House Republicans' plan to dramatically cut the federal deficit to raise the debt ceiling, warning that struggling families could lose access to rental aid. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
Jacquelyn Martin
More than 2,000 people died of drug overdoses in Missouri in 2022, and most of those deaths were connected to opioids like fentanyl.

Two local U.S. representatives — Republican Mark Alford and Democrat Emanuel Cleaver — hope to address the fentanyl crisis in Missouri and around the country.

Regardless of their political party, members of Congress from the Kansas City region agree something must be done to address the fentanyl crisis. Last year, the overdose death rate in the U.S. surpassed 112,000 for the first time; most of those deaths were related to opioids like fentanyl.

Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat, and Mark Alford, a Republican, say they're pushing to address the epidemic. They were scheduled to speak about the issue at a community forum on Thursday night at Center High School.

"We have an issue, in particular, being poisoned. I don't really call these overdoses — in a lot of these cases people are outright poisoned," Alford told KCUR's Up to Date.

"Whether it be counseling, law enforcement... what can we do as individual communities and congressional districts to try to alleviate and deal with this crisis?"

Community Fentanyl Forum, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 22 at Center High School, 8715 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64131.

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