WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) joined Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in announcing the passage of the Fentanyl Sanctions Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which passed the Senate yesterday by a vote of 86-8.
The Fentanyl Sanctions Act would hold China and other countries accountable for their commitments to crack down on producers and traffickers of fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids, pushing China’s government to honor their commitment to enforce new laws declaring all fentanyl derivatives illegal. Additionally, the legislation would provide the U.S. government with more tools and resources to sanction illicit traffickers from China, Mexico, and other countries—a critical effort, in light of the steep rise in devastating fentanyl overdose deaths.
“The fentanyl crisis needs to be addressed at all ports of entry,” said Senator Blackburn. “China is complicit in allowing illicit trafficking to occur and needs to pay the price for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic. This bipartisan effort demonstrates that we are a united front when it comes to stopping the opioid epidemic.”
“We must hold China, currently the world’s largest producer of illicit fentanyl, accountable for its role in the trade of this deadly drug. Our Senate-passed, bipartisan sanctions bill will do just that,” said Senator Schumer. “The opioid crisis has claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated families and communities across the country. In New York state, from November 2017 to 2018, approximately 2,000 people died from an opioid overdose. About 1,500 of those deaths were from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Our legislation is critical in this fight to save American lives, and I hope to announce soon that this bill will be signed into law.”
“The Chinese government is the world’s largest drug dealer,” said Senator Cotton. “China has allowed fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to pour into the United States for years, killing tens of thousands of Americans. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need additional resources to target the fentanyl producers, traffickers, cartels, and other criminals who are funneling this poison across our borders and into our communities. I’m pleased that this year’s NDAA includes our bipartisan amendment to give law enforcement critical tools to stop this scourge and hold China accountable.”
This legislation was also supported by Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Earlier this month, Senator Blackburn joined her colleagues in introducing the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act to ensure that sentencing penalties for trafficking fentanyl reflect the deadliness of the drug.