November 8, 2023

Schatz, Murkowski Lead Oversight Hearing On Fentanyl In Native Communities

For Immediate Release

November 8, 2023


Manu Tupper (Schatz) at

Jacqueline Bisille (Murkowski) at

Schatz, Murkowski Lead Oversight Hearing On Fentanyl In Native Communities

Hearing Underscored Native Perspectives On Addressing Fentanyl Crisis

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), vice chairman of the Committee, led an oversight hearing titled, “Fentanyl in Native Communities: Native Perspectives on Addressing the Growing Crisis.”

“Fentanyl – a potent synthetic opioid – is contributing to a rapid rise in opioid-related deaths across the country, and Native communities are getting hit extra hard,” said Chairman Schatz. “We have to listen to Native leaders, organizations, and health care professionals and support Native-led solutions to fight fentanyl in their homelands and surrounding communities.”

“Today, the Indian Affairs Committee held the first in a series of hearings on the fentanyl crisis,” said Vice Chairman Murkowski. “American Indian and Alaska Native populations had the highest drug overdose rates in both 2020 and 2021. Expert witnesses from Native communities shared how tribal leaders and Native health experts are responding to the crisis. I thank the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) for their testimony on the impacts to Alaska Natives and for recommending ways to provide better intervention, treatment, and prevention.”

The following witnesses participated in the oversight hearing:

  • The Honorable Tony Hillaire, Chairman, Lummi Nation, Bellingham, WA
  • The Honorable Jamie S. Azure, Chairman, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota, Belcourt, ND
  • The Honorable Bryce Kirk, Councilman, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation, Poplar, MT
  • Dr. A. Aukahi Austin Seabury, Ph.D., Executive Director & Licensed Clinical Psychologist, I Ola Lāhui, Inc., Honolulu, HI
  • Mr. Eric M. Gettis, Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Juneau, AK
  • Dr. Claradina Soto, Ph. D., Associate Professor, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

The full video of today’s oversight hearing is available here.