Senators back act meant to combat synthetic drug trafficking and minimize fentanyl overdose deaths.
U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Reps. Michael McCaul (R-TX) and David Trone (D-MD) have come together to announce a new bill designed to increase worldwide cooperation in fighting synthetic drug trafficking. The Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting (FENTANYL) Results Act, would “require the Secretary of State to prioritize efforts to combat the international flow of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, other synthetic drugs, and NPS through increased data collection, consultation with multilateral drug agencies and regulatory agencies in foreign countries, a technical assistance program to build forensic detection capabilities, and international exchanges among drug demand reduction experts. It also requires a report on implementation one year after the bill’s passage,” according to the documentation.
The bill will also allow for the start of two programs within the U.S. Department of State that will amp up foreign law enforcement resources to detect synthetic drugs and undergo “an international exchange program for drug demand reduction experts. It authorizes $1 million annually for 5 years.”
Two new sections would be added to the Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, including “one on synthetic opioids like fentanyl to assess the countries involved in manufacture, production, or transshipment; and one on NPS and how countries are responding to them. It also amends the definition of ‘major illicit drug producing country’ to include countries that produce synthetic drugs, not just plant-based ones.”
The documentation also suggests the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations should advocate for more transparent assessments of countries by the International Narcotics Control Board, and that international cooperation is essential to ensuring the program is effective.
“I’m proud to join my colleagues Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Michael McCaul and David Trone on this bipartisan, bicameral bill that will continue our work to reduce the devastating effects of synthetic opioid drug production like fentanyl,” Portman said. “This legislation will strengthen State Department data collection on synthetic drug production while increasing international law enforcement capacity. This important effort will help us save lives and mitigate the devastating effects of deadly synthetic opioids, which have impacted families and communities across Ohio and our country. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this important legislation and will continue to do everything I can to stop these deadly substances from destroying lives both in America and around the world.”
“My nephew Ian Trone died of a fentanyl overdose at the age of 24 alone in a hotel room, and since his passing, we’ve seen a dramatic and alarming increase in fentanyl and other synthetic opioid deaths across this country,” Trone, a member of the Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking and founder of the Freshmen Working Group on Addiction, said. “We need to tackle the opioid crisis from every angle, and that includes working with international partners to curb drug trafficking and save lives. I’m honored to work with Ranking Member Michael McCaul and Senator Jeanne Shaheen on this bill that will direct new efforts within the State Department to ensure we are taking every possible step to end the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic drugs into the United States.”