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Senate Passes Fentanyl Sanctions Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act

July 10, 2019

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On Thursday June 27, the United States Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, in a strong bipartisan vote of 86-8.1

Contained within this legislation was an important provision, previously introduced as a standalone piece of legislation, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act. This bill will hold countries accountable for their pledges to go after those who produce and/or traffic fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

Specifically, this legislation will give the United States government the tools it needs to sanction illicit traffickers from China, Mexico and others. It also provides new funding to law enforcement and other government agencies to combat the trafficking of this substance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the “age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased by 45% between 2016 and 2017), in part, a cause of the explosion of overdose deaths in recent years.2

Given the potency, and increased usage of this deadly drug, President Trump and the Congress have looked for ways to crack down on its availability. In fact, this past April, President Trump received a commitment from China to add fentanyl-related substances to their list of controlled drugs.3

This legislation recently passed out of the House Armed Services Committee and now awaits action on the House Floor.4

1 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/s1790
2 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db329.htm
3 https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/01/asia/china-us-fentanyl-trump-intl/index.html
4 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr2500

Topics: Advocacy Fentanyl

Jay Ruais

Prior to joining Addiction Policy Forum as the Chief Operating Officer, Jay Ruais served as Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire. Jay now serves as Chief of Staff for Addiction Policy Forum.