WATCH: How harm reduction advocates are working to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths

More than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl, the potent synthetic opioid, has quickly become the leading cause. In his Feb. 7 State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called for “strong penalties to crack down on fentanyl trafficking” — a line that garnered bipartisan applause during the address. But the call drew criticism from harm reduction advocates who say a more punitive approach could hurt their efforts.

Josh Swatek, head of the New Mexico Health Department Harm Reduction Program, spoke to the PBS NewsHour’s Nicole Ellis about how his organization is using harm reduction strategies to tackle the crisis.

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