Senator Tim Scott Combats Fentanyl Crisis with Groundbreaking Legislation
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, introduced the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combatting the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that traffic the drugs in from Mexico.
Fentanyl is a dangerous opioid drug that kills over 150 people every day. It is also the leading cause of death for young Americans. Cartels profit from these deaths by producing fentanyl in foreign countries, funneling it into America through the unstable southern border, and selling it for high prices.
Last month, four Americans were ambushed by a Mexican cartel while traveling to Mexico. LaTavia Washington McGee of Myrtle Beach and Eric Williams of North Carolina were taken hostage and later rescued, while Zindell Brown and Shaeed Woodard, both of Lake City, were murdered.
By strengthening current law and directing the Treasury Department to target, sanction, and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act aims to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into our country by choking off the income source of those who traffic in synthetic opioids.
“Fentanyl takes the lives of far too many young Americans, stripping a whole generation of the opportunity to contribute to their communities and achieve their dreams. This legislation takes decisive action to cut off the deadly flow of fentanyl at the source. By using the full weight of America’s economic power and directing the Treasury Department to make addressing this crisis a priority, this bill will restore hope for communities suffering from this deadly drug,” said Senator Scott.
National President of the Fraternal Order of Police Patrick Yoes said, “Administrator Anne Milgram at the DEA has described fentanyl as ‘the single deadliest drug threat’ our country has ever faced, and she is right. We need to do more as a nation to interdict the flow of this drug and its precursors into our country and severely sanction individuals and organizations involved in making and distributing this poison. Senators Tim Scott and Sherrod Brown have developed a comprehensive approach that codifies an existing Executive Order giving the President broad authority to attack fentanyl trafficking by using all the resources of the United States. We strongly support this effort and look forward to working with them and with Senators Wicker and Reed to pass this important legislation.”
The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence said, “The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), which represents more than 1,300 Opioid Treatment Programs in the United States, expresses its strong support for Senator Tim Scott and Sherrod Brown’s FEND Off Fentanyl Act. AATOD’s treatment provider members across the country are seeing greater challenges to effective treatment because of the prevalence of fentanyl. By giving law enforcement and regulators greater authority to sanction transnational criminal organizations involved in production of fentanyl precursors and trafficking fentanyl into the U.S., the FEND OFF Fentanyl Act would help treatment providers and individuals with Fentanyl Use Disorder by reducing overdose deaths so that evidence-based opioid treatment programs can help people stop drug use and return to work, family and their communities on their path to recovery.”
FDD Action said, “The threat from fentanyl production and trafficking has significantly increased since Congress passed the Fentanyl Sanctions Act in 2019. The bipartisan effort to update and expand sanctions against transnational criminal organizations associated with the fentanyl trade is critical to effectively targeting, and ultimately degrading the networks, particularly those in China, that are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans.”
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. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl - enough to supply a lethal dose to every American. 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.
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 also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.
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