Hill, Fitzpatrick take aim against foreign opioid traffickers

U.S. Reps. French Hill (R-AR) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on May 2 introduced the bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act to impose penalties on foreign traffickers of illicit opioids.

“We can’t allow more families to be destroyed by the opioid crisis, which is killing more than 130 Americans every day,” Rep. Hill said last week. “Targeting the source of the world’s largest producers and distributors of fentanyl will begin to stop the flow of these drugs coming across our borders and into our streets.”

“This legislation will prevent the flow of synthetic opioids into our country and will empower law enforcement to combat trafficking of these drugs,” added Rep. Fitzpatrick.

The members are original cosponsors of H.R. 2483, along with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-NY), to direct the U.S. president to publicly identify foreign traffickers of opioids on an annual basis and to use several economic and financial sanctions policy tools “to cripple their operations, including denying access to U.S. markets, freezing their assets and blocking transactions with U.S. financial institutions,” according to a summary the lawmakers provided.

“Across Arkansas, heartbroken families have told me their stories about how the opioid crisis has claimed the lives of their loved ones,” Rep. Hill said. “I’m pleased that this bipartisan legislation takes the necessary steps to target the bad actors responsible for the illegal trafficking of fentanyl into the United States.”

H.R. 2483 also would impose sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, according to the summary.

“Fentanyl has contributed to tens of thousands of deaths and has devastated our community,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Especially concerning is the fact that this synthetic poison can be ordered online and delivered via mail or express consignment couriers, predominantly from China.”

And the bill would authorize new funding for U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and establish a Synthetic Opioid Trafficking Commission, among other provisions.