WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — Sen. Mark. R. Warner, Sen. Bob Casey and six Democratic colleagues asked President Joe Biden, in a letter, to prioritize strengthening the security at the southwest border to stop the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl.

As Virginia and other states across the country battle with soaring overdose rates, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, data shows drugs are overwhelmingly smuggled through U.S. ports of entry, according to the release.

Senators are pushing for additional CBP agents and increased screenings as well as acquiring non-invasive inspection technology.

More than 112,000 people died from a drug overdose with fentanyl and other opioids, causing most overdoses between May 2022 and May 2023.

Virginia was among 37 states in which accidental drug overdoses were the largest cause of death for people under 40 years old in 2022.

“We have long supported increasing funding for comprehensive measures to enhance border enforcement, management and security,” the release states. “The situation at our border is complex and it will take continued leadership and funding to stem the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl, smuggling and transnational criminal organizations that operate along our border.”

Pills have been found in seat cushions, car batteries, metal walkers and bicycle frames.

Senators are pushing for increased funding for security and surveillance for the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS. The senators mentioned increasing funding to enhance border control while continuing leadership and funding to stop the flow of illicit drugs, smuggling and crime along the border.

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