Spanberger Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort to Combat Fentanyl Trafficking

According to the CDC, in 2021, More Than 71,000 Deaths Involving Fentanyl And Other Synthetic Opioids Occurred in the United States

HENRICO, V.A. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger joined U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), U.S. Representative David Trone (D-MD), and additional U.S. House and U.S. Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in calling for U.S. House and U.S. Senate leaders to move forward new measures to combat illicit fentanyl trafficking into the United States.

In a letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate Armed Services Committees, the lawmakers pushed for the bipartisan FENTANYL Results Act to be included in the final text of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Spanberger cosponsored the bipartisan legislation — which would authorize two programs through the U.S. State Department to help law enforcement detect synthetic drugs and increase global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking — and voted with a bipartisan majority earlier this year to pass the legislation as part of the House version of the FY2023 NDAA.

“Fentanyl has become the leading cause of overdose deaths. According to the CDC, in 2021, more than 71,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids occurred in the United States,” wrote Spanberger and the bicameral group of lawmakers.” Synthetic opioid-involved death rates increased by over 23 percent from 2020 to 2021. According to the DEA, Mexico and China are the primary source countries for fentanyl and related substances trafficked directly into the United States. The trafficking of fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids is a national security threat, which is why the FENTANYL Results Act is critical.”

The lawmakers continued, “The FENTANYL Results Act is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to fighting our substance abuse crisis at its root.

Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer and CIA case officer — has long worked to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States.

In July 2022, Spanberger and U.S. Representative Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) introduced legislation to quadruple research and development into technologies and strategies that deter and interdict fentanyl shipments and strengthen America’s response to fentanyl coming through the nation’s borders and ports of entry. Later that month, as part of the U.S. House version of the FY2023 NDAA, a bipartisan majority of the House passed the majority of the provisions in Spanberger’s legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to focus on developing new technological solutions to target and detect illicit fentanyl at U.S. borders and ports of entry.

And in February 2022, the House passed Spanberger’s legislation to address the root causes of illegal fentanyl production, distribution, and sale.

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Chairman Reed, Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Inhofe and Ranking Member Rogers,

As House and Senate conferees begin negotiating the final conference report for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we respectfully request that you include Section 5861 of the House-passed bill specifically as amended by Senate amendment 6315, as the text received final clearance from the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for inclusion in the FY2023 NDAA. This legislation passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a stand-alone bill with strong bipartisan support on June 14, 2022. This legislation would create programs to combat international synthetic and psychoactive substance trade and establish reporting requirements for the State Department. As sponsors of the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting Results Act or FENTANYL Results Act (S. 1160/H.R.2538), we appreciate your previous support of this legislation and request your continued partnership in increasing global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking.

Fentanyl has become the leading cause of overdose deaths. According to the CDC, in 2021, more than 71,000 deaths involving synthetic opioids occurred in the United States. Synthetic opioid-involved death rates increased by over 23 percent from 2020 to 2021. According to the DEA, Mexico and China are the primary source countries for fentanyl and related substances trafficked directly into the United States. The trafficking of fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids is a national security threat, which is why the FENTANYL Results Act is critical.

The FENTANYL Results Act contributes to the mission of the NDAA by strengthening our efforts to counter the international trade of the substances ravaging our communities. Specifically, the legislation would direct the State Department to establish a program to provide capacity-building assistance for law enforcement agencies of specific countries around the world to identify, track and detect synthetic controlled substances such as fentanyl and new psychoactive substances. It would also require the State Department to include new sections in its annual international narcotics control strategy report including an assessment of the countries likely involved in the trafficking of these drugs and policies to respond. The FENTANYL Results Act was favorably reported by both the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Given the level of support for this bipartisan and bicameral legislation, we request that the House language prevails in the final text of the NDAA.

Thank you for your consideration. The FENTANYL Results Act is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to fighting our substance abuse crisis at its root. We look forward to working with you to ensure this bipartisan and bicameral provision is included in the final version of the FY2023 NDAA.

Joining Shaheen, Trone, and Spanberger in signing the letter are U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), as well as U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Levin (D-CA), and Ami Bera (D-CA).

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