Two US Democrat Senators are proposing new legislation which would block countries from accessing the Export-Import bank and US aid if they fail to police the opioid Fentanyl being shipped stateside.
The two Senators are introducing The Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act which would impose harsh penalties on nations not cooperating with US authorities on the exporting of fentanyl.
In a statement, Senator Toomey said illicit fentanyl was largely responsible for the opioid and heroin epidemic gripping the US.
Fentanyl crisis: Is China a major source of illegal drugs? https://t.co/IxasyDRdL3
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) September 24, 2018
Fentanyl abuse a growing concern for first responders
“Since fentanyl can be fifty times as potent as heroin, just a tiny amount of this dangerous substance can kill a person, including first responders who may be inadvertently exposed to the drug when responding to an overdose victim or a crime scene. For the sake of our communities and the safety of law enforcement, countries like China must stop illicitly exporting fentanyl and improve their drug enforcement efforts now.”
Senator Jones said his home state of Alabama had also been devastated by opioid addiction and also noted it was endangering first responders.
“Fentanyl not only harms those who use it, but it also poses a serious threat to our first responders should they be exposed. This legislation is another smart step to stop illicit fentanyl from being transported across our borders and into our communities.”
In 2017, there were 81 overdose deaths from fentanyl in San Diego County alone, including one ten-month-old baby who accidentally ingested fentanyl left in his parents’ bed. Authorities are now seeking to charge the parents for his death.
In San Diego County, overdose deaths are now treated as potential homicides, resulting in a handful of prosecutions against suspected drug dealers https://t.co/Gq1AiDZrq2
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) September 23, 2018
Fentanyl is readily available from Chinese online retailers
Research by Innovate UK found it was easy to purchase fentanyl and bromadol, a substance estimated to be five times as strong as fentanyl, from Weiku.com, one of China’s leading online marketplaces.
Fentanyl abuse has increasingly become a major health crisis in the US. Last year, the sharpest increase among drug-related deaths occurred in deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths out of a total of 72,000 deaths.
Now the Senators are seeking to force foreign governments to cut off supply. Their bill would also require the US Department of State to identify which nations are major fentanyl producers in its annual narcotics report. It already collates such figures for countries producing heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China. We can, and must, END THIS NOW! The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
Trump on Chinese fentanyl exports: “END THIS NOW!”
US President Donald Trump had previously taken aim at China over the issue. “It is outrageous that Poisonous Synthetic Heroin Fentanyl comes pouring into the U.S. Postal System from China. We can, and must, END THIS NOW!,” he tweeted on 21 August.
“The Senate should pass the STOP ACT – and firmly STOP this poison from killing our children and destroying our country. No more delay!”
Trump’s decision to put China on notice drew an angry rebuke from Yu Haibin, an official with China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, who said his comments were “unacceptable” and “irresponsible.”
“The United States has no proof that most fentanyl in the country comes from China,” he said. “It’s highly irresponsible to draw such a conclusion based on some individual cases.”
Here’s how easy it is to buy fentanyl from China despite Trump’s pleas to Xi to “do something” about opioids https://t.co/tMNjNWC77V
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 9, 2017
The Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (STOP Act) was voted through both houses of US government with bipartisan support earlier in September.
The STOP Act is a comprehensive suite of measures aimed at curbing illicit imports of the painkiller. It will require the US Postal Service to provde advance electronic data on all packages entering the US.