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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Colleagues Welcome Inclusion of Fentanyl Prevention Bill in NDAA

Jul 26, 2023

Legislation cosponsored by Hickenlooper and Bennet would help stop deadly fentanyl from entering the United States

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet welcomed the inclusion of the bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act in the Senate’s annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The FEND Off Fentanyl Act aims to combat the country’s fentanyl crisis and stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into American communities by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that transport the drugs in Mexico.

“We see the deadly effects of fentanyl every day across Colorado,” said Hickenlooper. “This bipartisan bill will help target and cut off the fentanyl supply chain before it ever gets here.”

“Colorado is being overrun by fentanyl, and we need to hold countries like China and Mexico accountable for allowing these dangerous substances to pour into our communities. As drug overdoses among kids, teens, and Americans of all ages skyrocket, this legislation will give the federal government a critical tool to address the source of the synthetic opioid crisis and keep American families healthy and safe,” said Bennet.

In 2021, nearly 107,000 Americans died from an overdose, and 65% of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl. 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 communities across the United States and in Colorado. 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.

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Tim Scott, and has 62 Senate cosponsors, including Hickenlooper and Bennet. The initial procedural vote for a full Senate vote on the NDAA occurred last week.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Declare that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency.
  • Require the President to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  • Enable the President to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  • Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations thereby making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  • 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.
  • Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  • Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.

Read the full bill text here.


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