Washington, D.C. – (WBRE/WYOU) In light of the large number of overdose deaths from illicitfentanyl, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) today introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act—the first-ever fentanyl sanctions bill—that would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor their commitment tocontrol all types of fentanyl and provide the U.S. with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico, and other countries.
“Illicit fentanyl has inflicted severe suffering on Pennsylvania families and communities,” said Senator Toomey. “I am committed to holding responsiblethose who export this poison to our country. Congressional attention coupled with pressure from the Trump administration recently led to China finally subjecting all fentanyl-like chemicals to its drug laws. This bipartisan measure provides Congress with anothertool to fight the heroin and fentanyl epidemic.”
“Combating the flow of illicit fentanyl into our country is imperative in the fight to save American lives from the opioid crisis. We must hold China accountablefor their role in the fentanyl trade. China’s new law to make all fentanyl categories illegal is an important step and the administration deserves praise for their efforts to secure this change. However, we have to demonstrate that we will demand China enforcethese laws and take strong action against opioid traffickers,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “Our legislation would apply pressure on China to actually follow through and would equip the administration with tools to systematicallygo after the major manufacturers and traffickers of fentanyl before the killer drug gets to the U.S.”
Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) joined Senator Toomey andLeader Schumer in introducing this legislation.
Specifically, the legislation would:
· Imposesdirect sanctions on drug manufacturers in China that knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers and transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico known to be mixing fentanyl with other drugs and sending them into the U.S. The bill also appliessanctions on financial institutions that assist such entities.
sthe president to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to establish multilateral sanctions against foreign opioid traffickers.
· Establishesa Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico, and elsewhere.
Following a commitment to the U.S. at the G-20 in December 2018, Chinese regulators announced on April 1, 2019, that a wider range of fentanyl derivativeswould be declared controlled substances in China on May 1, 2019. Questions remain surrounding China’s ability and willingness to enforce drug laws, as evidenced by denials that its illicit fentanyl producers are contributing to the U.S. opioid crisis. To ensureaccountability, the Toomey–Schumer sanctions legislation would pressure the Chinese government to move forward with an aggressive plan to enforce its announced new regulations and providethe U.S. executive branch with flexible new sanction tools to go after actors, from manufacturers to traffickers, in China and other countries. Read more about the bill here.
Senator Toomey has been leading bipartisan efforts to punish foreign countries that turn a blind eye to drug kingpins who export deadly fentanyl to theUnited States. Earlier this year, he introduced the bipartisan Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act, which would make American foreign aid and development loans contingent upon a recipient country cooperating with U.S. drug enforcement efforts relatingto fentanyl.