Toomey-Jones Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act Poised for Senate Approval
Bipartisan measure will be included in annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
Washington, D.C. - After a four-year effort, the bipartisan Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act is poised for Senate passage as part of the annual defense policy bill.
Introduced by U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), the Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act will penalize foreign countries that fail to limit the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States.
Under the Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act, the United States would publicly identify countries that are major producers or traffickers of illicit fentanyl - something that our government already does for heroin, marijuana, and cocaine but has not yet done for fentanyl. Fentanyl-exporting countries would then have to criminalize the illicit production of fentanyl and prosecute violators. If countries fail to take these steps, they risk becoming ineligible for certain American taxpayer-funded foreign aid and development loans.
"Dangerous illicit fentanyl has killed thousands of Pennsylvanians and wreaked havoc in communities across the commonwealth," said Senator Toomey. "It's past time that Congress set stronger penalties for countries that turn a blind eye to drug kingpins who produce and export deadly illicit fentanyl to the United States. After a multi-year fight, I am glad that the Senate will likely pass the Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act in the coming days as part of the NDAA."
"We need to hold accountable countries like China that manufacture this dangerous substance - of which even the smallest amount can prove deadly - and save more American lives," said Senator Jones. "Across Alabama and our country, our communities are all too familiar with the devastation fentanyl and other opioids can cause for families, first responders, and law enforcement officers. We should be doing every everything in our power to keep fentanyl off of our streets, and the Senate will soon take an important step by voting on this commonsense, bipartisan bill."
Once approved by the Senate, the NDAA will still need to pass the House of Representatives before being presented to the President for his signature.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 31,000 Americans died from overdoses involving fentanyl in 2018, an increase of 10% over the previous year. Drug Enforcement Agency data shows that fentanyl was present in 70 percent of the 4,491 drug overdoses in Pennsylvania in 2018.