Senator Tim Scott’s Landmark Fentanyl Legislation Advances

WASHINGTON – Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, announced his legislation to combat America’s fentanyl crisis will advance to a critical next step in the legislative process, bringing it closer to becoming law. 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. The bill will be debated and is expected to be passed out of his committee Wednesday, which prepares the bill to be voted on by the full Senate.

“Since becoming Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, I’ve stressed the importance of regular order and called for the negotiation and development of consensus solutions to the most pressing issues facing the Committee. I’m most proud the Committee will take up my FEND Off Fentanyl bill to address the deadly fentanyl epidemic plaguing our communities. Americans want meaningful action on fentanyl, and it is past time this Committee utilizes our economic tools to choke off the profits of the cartels and Chinese chemical suppliers,” said Senator Scott.

The legislative markup of Senator Scott’s FEND Off Fentanyl Act can be viewed LIVE on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 9:30am ET on the Senate Banking Committee’s website.

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. The bill, first introduced in April, now has 55 cosponsors in the U.S. Senate and companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, drug overdose deaths in the state involving fentanyl increased more than 35% from 2020 to 2021. The agency also reported that fentanyl was involved in more than two-thirds of all opioid-involved overdose deaths in the state in 2021. 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 issue of fentanyl impacting American families across the country is one that Senator Scott has repeatedly spoken about, including in a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing on countering China’s aggression. 

For more information about the bill, read the one-pager here.