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Senators Shaheen and Hassan Cosponsor Bipartisan Bill to Combat Fentanyl Crisis

**The FEND Off Fentanyl Act Targets the Illicit Fentanyl Supply Chain and Strengthens Current Law to Target, Sanction, and Block Fentanyl Trafficking**

(Washington, DC) - Last week, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored the bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act. This bill targets the illicit fentanyl supply chain by strengthening current law and allowing the Treasury Department to increase penalties for synthetic opioid trafficking and money laundering.

The bipartisan bill takes steps to address the entire supply chain of illicit fentanyl trafficking, from chemical suppliers in China to cartels that transport the drugs through Mexico and across the U.S. border. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill that will allow U.S. government agencies to more effectively find and stop illicit opioid traffickers.

“The introduction of fentanyl made the substance use disorder epidemic deadlier than ever. To turn the tide on this public health crisis, we need policies that keep pace with how this scourge has evolved – that means increased measures to hold traffickers accountable and to disrupt the supply chains from China through Mexico that facilitate the smuggling of illicit fentanyl across our borders and into our neighborhoods,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ve sat with too many families overcome with grief because of this epidemic – we need to pursue every available avenue to end this crisis and keep Americans safe.”

“In order to prevent overdoses and save lives, we must do more to stop fentanyl trafficking,” said Senator Hassan. “By imposing these sanctions on fentanyl traffickers and their supply chains, we can target the deadly flow of fentanyl into our communities at the source. I will continue working to address the fentanyl crisis that is devastating New Hampshire communities.”

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Declare that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency

  • Require the President to impose sanctions on transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking

  • Enable the President to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts

  • Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations thereby making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted

  • Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids

  • Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering

  • Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports

Senator Shaheen, as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, has led efforts in the Senate to address the substance use disorder epidemic. Her bipartisan FENTANYL Results Act, signed into law as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), increases global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking. Shaheen also co-leads the Cooper Davis Act, a bipartisan bill to hold social media companies accountable for reporting to law enforcement all illicit fentanyl activity occurring on their platforms. In March, Shaheen and Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) hosted Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, for a discussion on the federal government’s ongoing response to the substance use disorder epidemic. In the FY 2023 government funding legislation, Shaheen secured $608 million in federal grants to help communities and first responders across the nation to respond to the substance misuse crisis. Over the last five years, New Hampshire has received more than $140 million from State Opioid Response (SOR) grants that Shaheen  secured to combat the opioid epidemic in the state, with the hardest-hit state set-aside responsible for the majority of those funds. Shaheen also included in the FY 2023 government funding legislation language to authorize increased funding for the SOR grant program. Last year, Shaheen  led efforts to prevent a steep cliff in SOR funding, securing a commitment to protect New Hampshire funding from Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra. Shaheen's efforts have led to a more than tenfold increase in federal treatment and prevention funding for New Hampshire.