A Republican and Democrat in Congress are working together to stop the flow of fentanyl from China to the hands of victims in the United States.
Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act on Wednesday. This bill, according to a press release, will, “force China to stem the flow of deadly, synthetic opioids being trafficked into the United States.”
Buchanan said that he wants China to be held accountable for its promise to ban fentanyl from its country.
“Fentanyl and other opioids have ravaged Florida communities and torn apart many families and lives,” Buchanan said. “While I welcome China’s announcement that it will ban all forms of fentanyl, we must ensure that their words are followed through with meaningful action. I urge my colleagues to immediately approve this bipartisan bill to deliver another resource that could help combat the flow of opioids across our borders.”
Over four years, more than 67,000 people in the U.S. lost their lives to a synthetic-opioid-related overdose. 2017 was the first year that, “fentanyl became the leading cause of overdose deaths in America,” according to The Washington Post.
The Heritage Foundation revealed that China is, “the biggest source of the fentanyl problem.” The country ships ingredients to the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean or Canada, where they are made into “pill form” or “mixed into heroin supply” before sold.
On April 1, China announced that it would crack down on its fentanyl operation by banning “all variants of the powerful opioid.” But the press release sent out by Buchanan’s office said that “concerns remain about Beijing’s poor enforcement record.” The office cited an article from Leandra Bernstein of Sinclair Broadcast Group, who wrote that between 2015 and 2016, China only had four instances where it confiscated fentanyl before it was shipped out.
"Fentanyl has become the leading illegal drug in the opioid crisis in our country, and it’s time we attack the source,” Moulton said. “While China’s ban on producing fentanyl is a promising start, Congress should hold China to its word. This bill will target the fentanyl producers worldwide who profit from the overdose deaths happening in communities across our country, including Massachusetts where fentanyl is the leading cause of opioid-overdose deaths. Congress must act quickly.”
According to the press release, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act would do the following:
- “Impose sanctions on China-based drug manufacturers that knowingly send synthetic opioids to drug traffickers and other criminal operations.
- “Authorize $600 million in funding for law enforcement to combat the trafficking of opioids across the globe.
- "Create a new federal commission to combat synthetic opioid trafficking that will include the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State.”