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Shaheen, Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Crack Down on Drug Dealers Targeting Americans through Social Media

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and Roger Marshall (R-KS) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Cooper Davis Act, to hold social media companies accountable for reporting to law enforcement all illicit fentanyl activity occurring on their platforms. The bill would require social media companies and other communication service providers to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and controlled substances occurring on their platforms. 

“Fentanyl is fueling the addiction crisis, and too many young people across New Hampshire and the nation are falling victim by acquiring drugs through social media. Social media companies have a responsibility to report illicit drug activity on their platforms. That’s why I’m introducing this bipartisan bill with Senator Marshall to increase reporting requirements for social media companies, providing essential data to law enforcement to stem the flow of illicit drugs,” said Senator Shaheen, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice. “As the substance use disorder crisis continues to evolve, so must our response. This epidemic has wrought enough havoc and heartbreak on our communities – we must protect future generations from succumbing to addiction.”  

“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug our nation has ever seen, and nearly every day in Kansas somebody dies from a poisoning,” said Senator Marshall. “Just one pill can kill, and in Cooper’s case it only took half a pill to take his life. I am proud to team up with Senator Shaheen and Libby Davis on the Cooper Davis Act that will empower law enforcement officials to prosecute those who prey on America’s youth. We will not rest in our fight to stop this terrible scourge that is killing Americans at record rates. Without a doubt, Cooper and all those have been poisoned deserve our best fight.” 

In recent years, organized drug cartels have dominated fentanyl trafficking in the country, setting up sophisticated distribution networks online via social media. In investigating fentanyl-related poisoning and deaths in teens and young adults, law enforcement agencies have found an alarming rate of these deadly pills acquired through social media platforms. Within a five-month period, the DEA investigated 390 drug-poisoning investigations and found that 129 had direct ties to social media. Unfortunately, federal agencies do not have the necessary data to intervene and prevent the increasing crisis. 

The Cooper Davis Act would establish a comprehensive and standardized reporting regime that would enable the DEA to better identify and dismantle international criminal networks and save American lives. The legislation would also require the U.S. Department of Justice to better coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, state and local law enforcement, INTERPOL, and other foreign law enforcement agencies. Social media companies and other communication service providers have similar reporting requirements for child sexual exploitation under then-Senator Joe Biden’s bipartisan PROTECT our Children Act of 2008 

Full text of the bill is available here. 

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen has fought to deliver resources to combat the substance use disorder crisis in New Hampshire. The fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding legislation that was signed into law provided $1.5 billion in State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding, as well as the continuation of a 15 percent set-aside that Shaheen fought to secure in 2018 for hard-hit states like New Hampshire. Shaheen also included a key provision from the 2019 version of her legislation - the Turn the Tide Act - to provide flexibility for treatment providers to use State Opioid Response (SOR) grant dollars to help patients suffering from meth and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorders. Shaheen wrote the provision in response to discussions with New Hampshire treatment providers. Over the past four years, New Hampshire has received approximately $92 million from these grants to combat the opioid epidemic in the state. In FY 2022 government funding legislation, Shaheen secured $572.5 million to help communities and first responders respond to substance misuse crises, including opioid addiction and drug trafficking. This also includes $415 million for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) grants, which support programs like drug, mental health and veteran treatment courts and substance use disorder treatment programs administered by state and local correctional facilities. Last year, Senator Shaheen helped introduce the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act 3.0 to help combat the opioid epidemic by increasing the funding authorization levels for these programs. Shaheen also secured funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) anti-heroin task force and anti-methamphetamine task force programs.