Senators Bring Bipartisan Legislation To Expand Federal Crackdown On Fentanyl

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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A group of senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Wednesday to give the federal government new powers to combat opioid trafficking in the U.S.

The bill – the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence Off Fentanyl Act, or the FEND Off Fentanyl Act – would impose banking and financial sanctions on fentanyl producers as well as those who knowingly supply them with constituent products, according to a one-page summary of the bill released by the Senate Banking Committee. It would also allow the president to expropriate the assets of traffickers and use them to further law enforcement efforts.

The bill was introduced by Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the committee’s ranking member who has also formed an exploratory committee to potentially run for president in 2024. They were joined in a joint statement on the bill by top senators of the Senate Armed Services Committee, though the national defense component of the bill is unclear. (RELATED: MARK MECKLER: Biden’s Border Crisis Is About To Get Even Worse)

FEND Off Fentanyl Act Text by Daily Caller News Foundation on Scribd

Fentanyl and synthetic opioid use is considered a crisis by politicians and experts, with the drug being the leading cause of overdose deaths in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health. In 2021, 80,411 people died of an opioid overdose, per NIH data, a number that has been increasing every year, on average, since 1999.

A sizable number of “precursor chemicals” used to manufacture fentanyl and other opioids are manufactured in China, which are then exported to Latin America, where drugs are manufactured by cartels and smuggled across the southern border, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence report. Other countries in the supply chain include India, where fentanyl powder is produced in conjunction with Mexican cartels, and Canada, from where some drugs are trafficked into the northern U.S., according to the report.

The U.S. has previously worked with other nations to impose international bans on these chemicals, largely without Chinese cooperation. The bill singles out China for exports of such chemicals by “legitimate and illegitimate means,” according to its text, and sets an eight-year statute of limitations for felonies of violating sanctions.

Many of the bill’s provisions are already exercised by executive order. The bill “codifies an existing Executive Order giving the President broad authority to attack fentanyl trafficking,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

When asked whether President Joe Biden would support the bill, a White House spokesperson speaking on background said that the administration’s approach had led to “a steady flattening or decrease in overdose deaths for 8 months in a row.”

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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