Washington, D.C. – Congress’ annual defense policy bill will include legislation authored by U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) to hold accountable countries that are facilitating America’s fentanyl-fueled opioid crisis.
The Toomey-Hassan legislation, the Blocking Deadly Fentanyl Imports Act, is sec. 6610 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is expected to pass the Senate in the coming days.
“Nations where fentanyl traffickers and producers operate freely, are on notice: help stop the illegal flow of fentanyl into our country or face consequences for your complicity in the opioid crisis,” said Senator Toomey. “After losing far too many Americans to fentanyl and other opioids, it is beyond time we hold countries accountable for allowing fentanyl to be produced and exported to the U.S. I appreciate Senator Hassan working with me on this critical amendment, and I look forward to the Senate passing and the President signing this legislation into law.”
"Let there be no mistake, the inaction of the Chinese government in tackling fentanyl trafficking has hurt communities right here in New Hampshire. When I visited China, I called on Chinese officials to take swift action,” said Senator Hassan. “Two years later, China still needs to do more to combat drug trafficking — and the U.S. will continue making sure we hold China and other bad actors accountable for pushing this lethal, dangerous drug to our borders. The fact that our bill was included in this year's NDAA reflects the severity of the threat that the substance misuse crisis poses to the safety and security of our communities, and I look forward to seeing the NDAA passed and signed into law.”
The amendment requires the United States to publicly identify countries that are major producers or traffickers of illicit fentanyl—something the government already does for heroin, marijuana, and cocaine but has not yet done for fentanyl. Illicit fentanyl-exporting countries would risk losing certain American taxpayer-funded foreign aid unless they schedule fentanyl and its analogues as a class and take steps to prosecute drug traffickers within their borders.
Senator Toomey began working on this effort in 2016, when he first introduced legislation to hold illicit fentanyl producing countries accountable.
Senator Hassan is focused on stemming the illegal flood of drugs such as fentanyl that have helped fuel the substance misuse crisis. In 2019, the Senator traveled to China to stress the importance of strengthening efforts to combat fentanyl trafficking from China.