August 10, 2020 In the News

Shaheen to introduce bill to promote international crackdown on fentanyl

Union Leader
By Josie Albertson
August 10, 2020

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is set to introduce a bill aimed at reducing the amount of fentanyl being produced illegally around the world, and curbing demand for illicit synthetic drugs.

The bill, known as Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting Results Act (FENTANYL) , would create two State Department programs aimed at stemming both supply and demand for synthetic drugs like fentanyl.

“Preventing fentanyl from reaching our borders must be a key component of our national strategy to combating the opioid epidemic,” Shaheen said in a statement.

“Our legislation enhances our cooperative efforts with key nations to clamp down on drug trafficking through upending supply chains.”

Such “key nations,” said Ryan Nickel, Shaheen’s communications director, include those that produce synthetic drugs like fentanyl, places where the ingredients to make drugs are being diverted to illegal drug-making and countries the president has identified as major drug-transit locations.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) will support the bill, Shaheen’s office said, as are Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and David Trone (D-Md.).

The bill would gather more data about where synthetic drugs are made, and provide for training of police and regulators in other countries on identifying and tracking synthetic drugs.

An existing international narcotics control program would be directed to gather information about legal production and regulation of synthetic opioids in other countries, estimate how much illegal production of drugs like fentanyl exists around the world, and get information about how these drugs are made and what materials are used to make them.

The bill emphasizes international collaboration between law enforcement agencies, regulators and community advocates. It would pay for the United States and other countries to collect data about drug use through surveys and wastewater testing. It would also set up an international exchange program for experts in drug-demand reduction working in government and nonprofits to share their knowledge about curbing demand for drugs.

The bill sets aside $5 million each year for these programs through 2025.