WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing legislation to implement new penalties for counterfeit pill production. Recently, there has been a surge in counterfeit pills laced with methamphetamine, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogues.
“The rise of drug traffickers who disguise fentanyl as other pills has created a whole new frontier in the substance misuse fight. We must stay vigilant against these bad actors and use all resources at our disposal to crack down on counterfeit pill production,” said Senator Hassan. “Last fall, I called on the administration to take action and follow the lead of New Hampshire’s law enforcement officers who were already sounding the alarm on this issue. I’m pleased to join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in cracking down on these criminals who seek to perpetuate the substance misuse crisis.”
The bipartisan bill, 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 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to issue a comprehensive plan to tackle the increasing spread of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or methamphetamine. Additionally, it requires the 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.
Senator Hassan has led efforts to target illicit fentanyl trafficking, and the most recent annual defense bill included Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to hold accountable countries like China that are facilitating America’s fentanyl-fueled opioid crisis. In March the Senator chaired a field hearing in Manchester to discuss ways to crack down on international drug trafficking and provide more resources to law enforcement to help stop the flow of illegal drugs into communities. Last October, Senator Hassan wrote a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram calling on the DEA to combat the dangerous rise in of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine disguised as prescription drugs. Senator Hassan also worked with her colleagues to pass into law the bipartisan INTERDICT Act, which has provided critical tools to Customs and Border Protection to help detect and intercept fentanyl and other illegal synthetic opioids.