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Shaheen, Portman & Cornyn Bill to Enhance Fentanyl Interdiction Signed Into Law

Bipartisan legislation to increase global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking is included in the FY2023 NDAA

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statements after their bipartisan legislation – the Fighting Emerging Narcotics through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting (FENTANYL) Results Act – was signed into law as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Their bipartisan effort increases global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking. The NDAA is annual legislation that authorizes defense programming for the fiscal year. 

Specifically, the FENTANYL Results Act authorizes two programs through the State Department that would build foreign law enforcement capacity to detect synthetic drugs and carry out an international exchange program for drug demand reduction experts.  

“Fentanyl is driving the substance use disorder crisis and making this public health emergency more lethal than ever. We’re seeing it disguised as candy to entice young people, our kids are being targeted over social media and unsuspecting individuals are dying when it shows up laced in other substances. It is a killer and we need to get it out of our communities. That effort needs to start with preventing it from crossing our borders,” said Senator Shaheen. “We know that fentanyl is primarily being trafficked from China and Mexico, so it is paramount that we address this issue globally, which is precisely what the FENTANYL Results Act will do.”

“With drug overdoses at an all-time high, Congress must do everything it can to stop synthetic opioids like fentanyl from destroying lives in America and around the world. I’m pleased this bipartisan legislation, designed to help to reduce the devastating effects of these deadly substances, has now been signed into law as part of the FY 2023 NDAA,” said Senator Portman. “I look forward to this legislation strengthening State Department data collection on synthetic drug production while increasing international law enforcement capacity – helping to save lives and mitigate the devastating effects of deadly synthetic opioids, which have impacted families and communities all across Ohio and our country.”

“The flow of deadly synthetic opioids across our southern border is a public health crisis and a national security threat,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation, which includes my PANIC Act, combats drug trafficking at the source by targeting illicit fentanyl exporters like China, and I’m glad to see it become law as part of the annual defense bill.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data revealing that a record-breaking 107,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other synthetic opioids were behind a majority of the deaths.  

To read full bill text of the FENTANYL Results Act, click here.  

Senator Shaheen has led efforts to combat substance misuse through her role as Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds significant programming to address the substance use disorder epidemic. She recently introduced new legislation with Senator Marshall (R-KS) to crack down on drug dealers targeting Americans, especially youth, through social media. In government funding legislation signed into law last December, she successfully secured $50 million for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to construct a new drug laboratory in New England, which presently does not have one, to improve lab testing in the region. Currently, if a DEA sample may contain fentanyl, it must be transported separately by ground transportation to the laboratory in New York City due to laws prohibiting its transfer through the mail. This process has been incredibly difficult for the region because agents must physically transport any samples that might contain fentanyl, resulting in hours of travel to New York City and back. The New York Division is also one of the busiest for DEA and a lab in New England will help both Divisions meet drug testing demands.