Shaheen, Schumer, Cotton, Brown, Rubio, Menendez & Toomey Introduce First-Ever Targeted Fentanyl Sanctions Bill To Hold Chinese Government Accountable On Their Commitment To Crack Down On Manufacturers And Traffickers Of Lethal Opioids Ravaging U.S. Communities

April 04, 2019

**Following Chinese Regulators Announcing That A Wider Range Of Fentanyl Derivatives Would Be Declared Controlled Substances in China on May 1st.; Bipartisan Group Of Senators Introduce Sanctions Legislation That Would Pressure China to Enforce This New Law, Direct The Administration To Identify Foreign Traffickers Of Opioids On An Annual Basis, Authorize New Funding To Law Enforcement And Intelligence Agencies**

**There were 488 Drug Deaths in NH in 2017, 363 of Which Involved Fentanyl ; NH Had the Highest Fentanyl-Related Death Rate in the Nation in 2016**

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act— the first-ever fentanyl sanctions bill— that would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor their commitment to make all fentanyl illegal and provide the U.S. with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico and other countries.  Shaheen introduced the bipartisan bill with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). 

“The introduction of fentanyl into New Hampshire’s illicit drug supply was akin to pouring gasoline on an already raging crisis,” said Senator Shaheen. “Fentanyl continues to take loved ones struggling with substance use disorders from every community in New Hampshire. We know where fentanyl is coming from and there needs to be more done at the federal level to stop it. This legislation cracks down on fentanyl manufacturers and their financial sponsors by inflicting painful sanctions, and ramps up support for federal enforcement efforts. Bipartisan cooperation continues to be absolutely necessary to tackling this crisis and this legislation is an important next step for Congress to take.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require imposition of sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S. and financial institutions that assist such entities. 
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Treasury, Department of Defense and Department of State, to combat the foreign trafficking of opioids.
  • Urges the President to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to establish multilateral sanctions against foreign opioid traffickers.
  • Establish a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico and elsewhere.

Following a commitment to the U.S. at the G-20 in December 2018, Chinese regulators announced on April 1, 2019, that a wider range of fentanyl derivatives would be declared controlled substances in China on May 1, 2019. China already has problems enforcing its current drug laws and continues to deny that its illicit fentanyl producers are a major source of illicit opioids contributing to the U.S. opioid crisis. To ensure accountability, Senators Shaheen, Schumer, Cotton, Brown, Rubio, Menendez, and Toomey’s sanctions legislation would pressure the Chinese government to move forward with an aggressive plan to enforce its announced new laws and provide the U.S. executive branch with flexible new sanction tools to go after actors, from manufacturers to traffickers, in China and other countries. 

Read more about the bill here.