Sen. Scott’s Fentanyl Bill Signed into Law

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s (R-S.C.), effort to crack down on the illicit fentanyl supply chain was signed into law today as a part of the national security supplemental package. Senator Scott, in his capacity as the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, wrote and introduced the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, which directs the Department of Treasury to use U.S. economic national security tools to choke off the profits of the Chinese precursor manufacturers and the Mexican cartels that push fentanyl across the border.

“The precursors for fentanyl come from China, they’re manufactured in Mexico, and then the Mexican cartels bring them to America – leading to the deaths of 70,000 Americans. My solution – the FEND OFF Fentanyl Act – freezes and sanctions the assets of the Mexican cartels, cutting off their cash, and starving them of what they need to kill 70,000 Americans,” said Senator Scott. “Today, we’ll have a greater opportunity to stop the flow of fentanyl.” 


Learn more about Senator Scott’s legislation here.


Senator Scott began work on the FEND Off Fentanyl Act last year, leveraging his position as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs to draft and introduce a comprehensive legislative solution to the fentanyl crisis further fueled by President Biden’s open border policies. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill to help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting opioid traffickers devastating America’s communities. The bill will enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl. The bill ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act was debated and unanimously passed out of the Senate Banking Committee on June 21, 2023, during the committee’s first legislative markup since 2019, and has 68 Senate cosponsors. Multiple national groups, including law enforcement associations and anti-opioid abuse organizations, also voiced support for the bill.

The United States is facing the worst drug crisis in history. In 2021, nearly 107,000 Americans died from an overdose, and 65% of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl. South Carolina saw overdose deaths involving fentanyl jump by 35% from 2020 to 2021. In 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl – enough to supply a lethal dose to every American.

On January 3, 2024, indictments were unsealed by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office as part of an operation called “Devil in Disguise,” which charged 64 people across four counties. Fifty-nine of the defendants were accused of crimes related to the distribution and trafficking of fentanyl. Given the sharp increase in fentanyl-caused deaths, it is clear that a staggering amount of fentanyl is making its way into our country from the chemical suppliers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and drug cartels in Mexico.

Senator Scott also introduced the Alan T. Shao II Fentanyl Public Health Emergency and Overdose Prevention Act to utilize powers similar to those under Title 42, so that the Department of Homeland Security continues to expedite the processing and removal of migrants illegally entering the country in response to the fentanyl-related public health emergency. Senator Scott’s legislation is named after the son of Dr. Alan Shao, the former Dean of the School of Business at the College of Charleston. Alan T. Shao II passed away at the age of 27 due to a fentanyl overdose.