Kirsten E. Gillibrand

03/02/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/02/2024 13:35

On Long Island, Gillibrand Calls For Passage Of The Fend Off Fentanyl Act

On Long Island, Gillibrand Calls For Passage Of The Fend Off Fentanyl Act

Mar 2, 2024

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood with local leaders and law enforcement at the THRIVE Recovery Community and Outreach Center to call for the passage of the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act. This bill would empower the U.S. government to go after the cartels bringing dangerous drugs into the country and help fight the opioid epidemic. In mid-February, the Senate passed the FEND Off Fentanyl Act as part of a bipartisan national security supplemental package, but the bill has stalled in the House. Now, Senator Gillibrand is calling on Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans to take action immediately against the drug producers and traffickers devastating our communities. Gillibrand was joined by Suffolk County Chief Assistant District Attorney Allen Bode, anti-fentanyl advocate Carole Trottere, the LICADD board, and Director of Special Events at LICADD Angela Brooks.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight when mixed with other drugs. In 2023, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 386,000,000 deadly doses of fentanyl across the U.S. - enough to supply a lethal dose to every American.

"No community has been left untouched by the opioid epidemic. In 2022, the DEA seized enough deadly doses of fentanyl in New York for more than three times the state's population," said Senator Gillibrand. "The bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a critical piece of legislation that will help us target both the cartels and the individuals involved in producing and trafficking these dangerous drugs. It will empower the government to sanction drug traffickers and combat money laundering schemes that make this trade profitable. I was proud to help get this bill passed in the Senate, and today, I'm calling on Republicans in the House to pass it as well. We have lost too many lives to the fentanyl crisis and we have to do everything in our power to fight it."

"The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) commends Senator Gillibrand for her continued leadership in combating the national fentanyl crisis. The devastating rate of fentanyl poisonings and overdoses adversely impacting New Yorkers and American families requires an immediate and robust national response. LICADD will continue to work tirelessly with our federal, state and local officials to address this national public health crisis. Thank you Senator Gillibrand for your consistent dedication to New Yorkers and Americans in combating this national security issue,"said Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC, LICADD Executive Director.

"Long Island has been hit hard by the fentanyl crisis and we thank Senator Gillibrand for her steadfast commitment to policy changes that will save lives. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is absolutely critical to our local efforts to prevent fentanyl overdoses and without action, the overdose fatalities will continue to climb. Time is of the essence. We need this bill, communities and families in crisis need this bill and we urge its immediate passage,"said Dr. Jeffrey L. Reynolds, Ph.D, President/CEO of the Family & Children's Association (FCA).

The majority of illegal fentanyl entering the United States is made with Chinese precursor chemicals and manufactured in Mexico. This bill will empower the U.S. government to go after the cartels bringing these dangerous drugs into the United States and those producing and shipping the precursor materials. It also enhances sanctions enforcement and gives the Treasury Department tools to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.

Specifically, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act would:

  1. Declare the international trafficking of fentanyl a national emergency.
  2. Require the president to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels' key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  3. Enable the president to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  4. Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations, making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  5. Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
  6. Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  7. Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels' financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Brown (D-OH), Wicker (R-MS), Reed (D-RI), Vance (R-OH), Tester (D-MT), Lummis (R-WY), Sinema (I-AZ), Britt (R-AL), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kennedy (R-LA), Fetterman (D-PA), Hagerty (R-TN), Smith (D-MN), Menendez (D-NJ), Risch (R-ID), Van Hollen (D-MD), Moran (R-KS), Warner (D-VA), Daines (R-MT), Hassan (D-NH), Crapo (R-ID), Shaheen (D-NH), Collins (R-ME), Heinrich (D-NM), Braun (R-IN), Rosen (D-NV), Ernst (R-IA), Casey (D-PA), Cramer (R-ND), Baldwin (D-WI), Rounds (R-SD), Kelly (D-AZ), Capito (R-WV), King (I-ME), Scott (R-FL), Whitehouse (D-RI), Budd (R-NC), Tillis (R-NC), Manchin (D-WV), Cassidy (R-LA), Cornyn (R-TX), Wyden (D-OR), Schmitt (R-MO), Kaine (D-VA), Lankford (R-OK), Boozman (R-AR), Padilla (D-CA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Thune (R-SD), Peters (D-MI), Rubio (R-FL), Stabenow (D-MI), Sullivan (R-AK), Schatz (D-HI), Ricketts (R-NE), Klobuchar (D-MN), Blackburn (R-TN), Markey (D-MA), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Barrasso (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Bennet (D-CO), Booker (D-NJ), Romney (R-UT), Cantwell (D-WA), Butler (D-CA), and Ossoff (D-GA).