Washington, D.C. – The leaders of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced the bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combatting the country’s fentanyl crisis and saving lives in Ohio by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that transport the drugs in Mexico.
By strengthening current law and directing the Treasury Department to target, sanction, and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations, and those that launder money to facilitate illicit opioid trafficking, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act aims to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into Ohio communities by penalizing those that traffic in synthetic opioids.
The bill was introduced by Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-SC) and cosponsored by the leaders of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS).
“The addiction crisis has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio and around the country — and so often illicit fentanyl is the culprit. In roundtables and conversations with Ohio communities on the frontlines of this fight, I hear over and over that we need new, more powerful tools to prevent the flow of fentanyl into our neighborhoods.”
“This bipartisan bill will add effective new sanctions to target the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from China through Mexico, to help stop increasingly dangerous forms of this drug before they ever reach our communities,” said Chairman Brown.
“Fentanyl takes the lives of far too many young Americans, stripping a whole generation of the opportunity to contribute to their communities and achieve their dreams.”
“This legislation takes decisive action to cut off the deadly flow of fentanyl at the source. By using the full weight of America’s economic power and directing the Treasury Department to make addressing this crisis a priority, this bill will restore hope for communities suffering from this deadly drug,” said Ranking Member Scott.
“The fentanyl crisis didn’t happen overnight, and it’s going to take a strategic, multi-pronged approach to disrupt fentanyl traffickers, including stronger counternarcotics enforcement, demand reduction initiatives, and expanded access to lifesaving treatment.”
“This bill would provide new tools to disrupt and sanction fentanyl traffickers and go after their supply chains and money laundering operations.”
“It would enhance coordinated interdiction efforts and help reduce the flow of this poison into our communities,” said Senator Reed (D-RI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and a senior member of the Banking Committee.
“Tens of thousands of Americans are dying each year from fentanyl that has been trafficked into this country by Mexican cartels and manufactured using materials from Communist China.”
“This measure would directly target the criminals and organizations that are empowering the fentanyl trade and endangering our national security,” said Senator Wicker, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
The United States is facing the worst drug crisis in history. In 2021, nearly 107,000 Americans died from an overdose, and 65% of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl – more than double the amount of fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills that it seized in 2021, and enough to supply a lethal dose to every American.
Given the sharp increase in fentanyl-caused deaths, it is clear that a staggering amount of fentanyl is making its way into our country undetected.
Communities throughout Ohio have experienced spikes in suspected overdose deaths, and law enforcement officials believe fentanyl is largely to blame.
During the pandemic in 2020, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio increased by one third, and in 2021, fentanyl was involved in 80% of Ohio unintentional drug overdose deaths.
The prevalence of increasingly-dangerous forms of the drug, often mixed with other substances, is a serious and increasing public health threat to Ohio communities.
In Ohio the DEA and law enforcement partners seized more than 87,000 fentanyl-laced pills in a period of less than four months last year.
The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill to help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting opioid traffickers devastating Ohio communities.
The bill will enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl.
The bill also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.