Portman, McCaul propose legislation to combat synthetic drug trafficking

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) last week unveiled a bipartisan, bicameral bill to increase global cooperation in the fight against synthetic drug trafficking. 

“This bipartisan, bicameral bill will continue our work to reduce the devastating effects of synthetic opioid drug production like fentanyl,” Sen. Portman said on Monday. “This legislation will strengthen State Department data collection on synthetic drug production while increasing international law enforcement capacity.”

“While the U.S. has taken important steps to combat the opioid crisis here at home,” added Rep. McCaul, “we must also identify and address international flows of lethal drugs into the U.S., most of which come from China.” 

Sen. Portman on Aug. 6 cosponsored the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting (FENTANYL) Results Act, S. 4514, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), while Rep. McCaul on Aug. 7 cosponsored the same-named H.R. 7990 with bill sponsor U.S Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 

If enacted, the measure would authorize two programs through the U.S. State Department that would build foreign law enforcement capacity to detect synthetic drugs and carry out an international exchange program for drug-demand reduction experts, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Portman’s office.

“By bolstering international law enforcement cooperation and capacity, we can stop illegal drugs at the source and help curb the devastating opioid crisis that has ravaged communities across our nation,” said Rep. McCaul.

Additionally, the FENTANYL Results Act would amend the State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report by requiring the addition of two new sections: one on synthetic opioids like fentanyl to assess the countries involved in the manufacture, production or transshipment of the drug; and the other on new psychoactive substances (NPS) and how countries are responding to NPS. 

The bill also would amend the definition of “major illicit drug producing country” to include countries that produce synthetic drugs, not just plant-based ones, according to the bill summary. 

“I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this important legislation and will continue to do everything I can to stop these deadly substances from destroying lives both in America and around the world,” Sen. Portman said.