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Rubio, Markey, Colleagues Applaud Senate Passage of Bipartisan Legislation Helping to Reduce Flow of Illicit Fentanyl into U.S.

Dec 22, 2017 | Press Releases

Miami, FL – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today applauded Senate passage of the INTERDICT Act, legislation that seeks to stop the flow of the illicit opioid fentanyl across the U.S. border. The lifesaving bill will help equip Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with scanning devices and other technologies to detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Mexico is the primary source for illicit fentanyl trafficked into the United States, while distributors in China are the principal source of the precursor chemicals used to manufacture the drug, as well as a source for finished-product illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, which are often shipped to the United States through the mail and express consignment carriers.
In data released this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2016, with nearly half being directly attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
“Fentanyl is a leading contributor to the opioid crisis that is destroying families and taking lives in Florida and across the country” said Rubio. “I urge the president to quickly sign this bill into law so that we can further the progress in stopping fentanyl from entering our country from abroad, and ultimately curb the opioid epidemic.”
“Fentanyl is presenting as the deadliest illicit opioid drug Massachusetts is facing,” said Markey. “It is an immediate and grave threat to the American people, and we need to staunch its flow through our borders now. Customs and Border Protection is a critical line of defense in the battle to stop fentanyl from flooding our communities, and the INTERDICT Act will help provide it with the latest technological tools to detect and intercept this deadly drug. I thank Senators Rubio, Brown and Capito for their partnership on this legislation and call on President Trump to sign the bill immediately.”
“Ohioans are dying from overdoses at the second highest rate in the country. Families are being torn apart. Children are losing parents. Parents are losing sons and daughters. And we know fentanyl is one of the main culprits,” said Brown. “I urge President Trump to sign our bipartisan bill into law immediately, so we can give law enforcement the tools they need to keep this drug out of Ohio and off our streets.”
“Just this week, we learned that West Virginia continues to lead the country in overdose deaths, but we are not the only state that is being forced to deal with the tragic consequences of the growing opioid epidemic. Given the scope and the impact of this national crisis, it’s going to take a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to fight it, and enforcement is a big part of that strategy,” said Capito. “I was proud to introduce the INTERDICT Act with Senator Markey and will continue working to make sure our law enforcement professionals have the tools and resources they need to keep illicit substances out of our country and off of our streets.”
Specifically, the INTERDICT Act:

  • Ensures that CBP will have additional portable chemical screening devices available at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities, and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories
  • Provides CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities – including scientists available during all operational hours – to interpret screening test results from the field