Shaheen, Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Crack Down on Drug Trafficking Through Social Media
**The Cooper Davis Act would help enable authorities to better identify and dismantle international criminal networks and save lives**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) reintroduced their bipartisan legislation today, the Cooper Davis Act, to hold social media companies accountable for reporting to law enforcement illicit fentanyl activity occurring on their platforms. The bill would require social media companies and other communication service providers to turn over information relating to illicit online fentanyl activity to federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and controlled substances occurring on their platforms.
“Fentanyl is fueling the substance use disorder crisis impacting New Hampshire and our nation and it’s killing our kids. Tragically, we’ve seen the role that social media plays in that by making it easier for young people to get their hands on these dangerous drugs – we have to put a stop to it now,” said Shaheen. “Social media companies have a moral responsibility to report illicit drug activity happening on their platforms, and our bipartisan legislation would help ensure they work with law enforcement to do exactly that. Our families and communities have dealt with enough tragedy and heartbreak – we must protect future generations from succumbing to substance misuse.”
“Fentanyl is flooding into our communities. Just this month, Kansas authorities made busts in both Dickinson County and Montgomery County that resulted in finding nearly 15,000 fake pills laced with fentanyl,” said Marshall. “This deadly drug is killing a Kansan almost every single day. This is a crisis and sadly our children do not know what they’re up against. If our nation is going to win this fight, we need Big Tech companies to crack down on drug dealers pushing this poison on their platforms to vulnerable teenagers like Cooper Davis and thousands of others.”
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 have not had access to the necessary data to intervene, which has allowed the crisis to worsen. 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. In additional, the legislation would require the U.S. Department of Justice to share reports of illicit online fentanyl activity with 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.
Earlier this month, Shaheen and Marshall (R-KS), along with Senator 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. The Senators addressed the responsibility that big tech companies must take in response to drug traffickers using their platforms to target young people through social media. 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.