U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) this evening was joined for the President’s State of the Union address by Teresa Woolson, an Oswego County mother who lost her son, Victor, to synthetic drugs in August 2012. Following Victor’s death, Woolson created the Victor Orlando Woolson (V.O.W.) Foundation in his honor. Since then, Woolson has worked tirelessly on a local, state, and federal level to advocate for stronger policies to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid addiction and combat the rise of synthetic drugs.
Partnering with Woolson and the V.O.W. Foundation, Representative Katko has prioritized combating the heroin and synthetic drug epidemic that has plagued Central New York. This Congress, he has introduced and championed bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help stop the unlawful importation and distribution of synthetic drugs and give local law enforcement the effective tools they need to keep our community safe. The Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act modernizes the Controlled Substances Act and outlaws 13 synthetic fentanyls that have been identified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as an immediate threat to public health.
This afternoon, ahead of the President’s State of the Union address, Katko and Woolson met with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (OR-2) to tell Victor’s story and highlight the importance of Katko’s bill. Chairman Walden shared that the Committee will begin the process this month of holding legislative hearings on measures to combat the opioid epidemic, including Katko’s bill.
Chairman Walden stated, “Rep. Katko has been working tirelessly on his legislation to stop the trafficking of synthetic drugs like fentanyl. These dangerous drugs have emerged as the latest wave of the opioid epidemic, and it’s critical that our local officials and law enforcement officials have the tools they need to identify these deadly substances. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Rep. Katko on this important bill and look forward to seeing it through the legislative process.”
“I’ve been honored to work alongside Teresa in the fight against synthetic drugs and opioids and am truly privileged to have her as my guest for this evening’s State of the Union address,” said Rep. Katko. “I’m grateful for Chairman Walden’s dedication to ending the heroin, opioid, and synthetic drug epidemic and look forward to working with him to advance this measure through the Committee and Congress.”
Teresa Woolson said, “The synthetic drug that killed my son was identified as XLR-11 and this chemical compound continued to cause harm for another 4 years before it was added to the Controlled Substance List. This bill would create a much-needed tool to help law enforcement stop the spread of these deadly drugs in our Country. I applaud Congressman Katko for his continued efforts to combat this drug crisis and I’m grateful to Chairman Walden for prioritizing this bill.”
Congressman Katko represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and the western portion of Oswego County. For more information visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.