WASHINGTON – On National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) are reintroducing bipartisan legislation targeting a surge in counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, methamphetamine and related substances leading to a spike in overdose deaths. The Stop Pills that Kill Act would implement new penalties for counterfeit pill production.
“Across America, families are burying their loved ones who were lost to accidental poisoning from counterfeit pills. Knockoff pills have become a highly lethal and rapidly evolving front in the drug epidemic. Our bipartisan proposal will ramp up criminal penalties to deter this illegal and dangerous trend, and help save lives,” Grassley said.
“The overdose epidemic in the United States is being fueled by the proliferation of counterfeit pills,” Feinstein said. “Pills designed to look like prescription drugs are being secretly laced with lethal doses of fentanyl or methamphetamine. Our bill will save lives by giving law enforcement the tools necessary to go after criminals manufacturing and these killer pills.”
“This bipartisan bill takes important steps to crack down on criminals who are producing and distributing deadly counterfeit pills,” said Senator Hassan. “I urge my colleagues to support this bill that increases penalties on drug traffickers. As Granite Staters continue to die from fentanyl overdoses at alarming rates, we must keep working together to combat the fentanyl crisis.”
Just one kilogram of fentanyl can kill 500,000 people, making it 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The Stop Pills That Kill Act would ensure that existing penalties for possessing paraphernalia used to manufacture methamphetamine would also apply to possessing paraphernalia used to make counterfeit pills that contain methamphetamine, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.
The bill requires the DEA to issue a comprehensive plan to tackle the increasing spread of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or methamphetamine. Additionally, it requires the U.S. Attorney General to work with the DEA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy to issue an annual report to Congress, with a goal of helping lawmakers learn more about the scope of seizures, investigations, prosecutions and public awareness of the dangers associated with pills laced with illicit drugs.
The bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations Coalition, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Song for Charlie and Victims of Illicit Drugs.
Grassley has led efforts to immediately extend Schedule I status for fentanyl analogues, and is a sponsor of a proposal cracking down on the illegal distribution of counterfeit pills on social media platforms. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45.
Full bill text can be found by clicking HERE.