Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act.  Doctors typically prescribe fentanyl – a synthetic opioid – in small quantities to terminally ill patients who are in tremendous pain.  Unfortunately, drug traffickers are giving this highly lethal drug to drug abusers, resulting in overdoses and deaths.  Representatives Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) introduced the House version of the bill earlier this Congress. 

Drug traffickers and dealers are mixing fentanyl with heroin to increase its potency, creating an often lethal combination that is causing a skyrocketing of preventable deaths, with more Americans dying in 2016 of a drug overdose than in any previous year.

The Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the amount of fentanyl needed to invoke the most serious trafficking penalties for an individual trafficking or illegally manufacturing the drug.  Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and can be lethal even in amounts as small as a grain of sand.  

“What drug traffickers are creating with fentanyl is devilishly deadly.  They’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives by mixing heroin with a drug that is even more deadly than heroin itself,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Drug addicts don’t even realize the fentanyl is there because it looks just like heroin.  We are at war in this country with opioid addiction.  This bill puts us one step closer to winning that war and protecting our citizens.”

“Without action, these overdose figures are only going to get worse,” Rep. Rooney said. “Under the current law, the threshold amount to invoke penalties is not appropriate with the strength of the drug.  Individuals who are trafficking and profiting off fentanyl need to be adequately prosecuted in the hopes of stopping the alarming rising rate of fatal overdoses.  The time is now to update our laws to get this incredibly dangerous synthetic drug off of the streets.”

“We are losing too many of our friends, neighbors and relatives to this destructive drug epidemic.  I am proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing this important legislation that will help get fentanyl off the street.  We must respond to this crisis from all sides by improving coordination to reduce the number of drugs available, while also increasing and expanding access to treatment for those who are suffering,” said Rep. Ryan.