Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-22nd Dist., is among three co-sponsors of a House bill that would give federal authorities more ways to fight importation and trafficking of opioids.
The first-term representative from Utica joined with Republicans Rep. French Hill of Arkansas and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania to co-sponsor the Fentanyl Sanctions Act introduced last week by fellow freshman Democrat Max Rose, D-11th, of Staten Island and Brooklyn.
The bill mirrors Senate legislation introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas. According to a summary by Rose’s staff, the House bill would require sanctions on drug manufacturers and financial backers who provide synthetic opioids or mix fentanyl with other drugs trafficked into the United States.
It would authorize new funding for enforcement and intelligence agencies for drug trafficking, and establish a commission to monitor importation of synthetic opioids.
Rose says 48,000 people in the United States died from an opioid overdose from August 2017 through August 2018, with synthetic opioids excluding methadone contributing 31,900 deaths.
Background from Rose said the main cause is highly potent fentanyl shipped via international mail from China directly or to Mexico then imported.
The bill was introduced Thursday and referred to several House committees.
“This bipartisan solution will impose effective sanctions on illicit fentanyl manufacturers and give law enforcement the tools and resources they need to stop these deadly drugs from entering our country,” Brindisi said in a statement.
“The bill has support from both parties and both chambers, and we need to act now to get this done,” Brindisi added.