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December 04, 2023

Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo Floor Statement on H.R. 1734, the TRANQ Research Act

(WASHINGTON, DC)— Yesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives considered and passed under suspension of the rules four bipartisan bills led by Members of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo (D-CO) made the following statement on H.R. 1734, the TRANQ Research Act:

Thank you, Ranking Member Lofgren.

Mister Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 1734, the Testing, Rapid Analysis and Narcotics Quality Research Act or TRANQ Research Act. I would also like to thank my colleagues, Congressman Mike Collins, Chairman Frank Lucas, and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren for working with me to run this bipartisan legislation. I would also like to thank Senators Peter Welch and Ted Cruz for moving this bill through the Senate. 

As a doctor, I've seen firsthand the horrific impact the drug crisis has had on families in my community and across the country. Last year alone, more than 107 thousand Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses – due in large part to the crisis. 

Fentanyl is a drug with a very high potency that is relatively easy to manufacture. And criminals making fentanyl can add different chemicals to change its molecular structure, creating a variant that is novel and difficult to detect. 

Just in the past year, we have seen a dramatic increase in criminals mixing a common animal tranquilizer called xylazine with fentanyl. If injected, this combination can have horrible side effects, including large wounds at the injection site that have led to limb amputations.

Horrifyingly, tranq is already spreading across the country. Having seen the disastrous effect fentanyl has had on Colorado, I am proud to lead the charge to act against xylazine now to protect our families.

But one of the major challenges we face to combat drugs like fentanyl and xylazine is detecting them. These drug mixtures usually contain a very small amount of the drug and traditional laboratory methods are not designed to detect or identify new drug variants. 

The TRANQ Research Act addresses this challenge by leveraging our nation’s scientific capabilities to allow our first responders to be able to detect, identify, and better understand novel opioids and other substances. Additionally, and thanks to our partners in the Senate, the bill will help Congress conduct oversight over federal programs to respond to threats from new psychoactive substances like xylazine.

We know combating the drug crisis will take bipartisan action. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins and my colleagues to get this bill signed by the President and to keep pushing for common-sense solutions both parties can agree on to keep Americans safe.

Thank you and I urge my colleagues to support this bill and I yield back.