WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored bipartisan legislation, led by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), aimed at stopping the importation of deadly opioids and other synthetic drugs into the United States. While existing laws prohibit the importation and use of certain specific controlled substances, illicit drug makers and importers circumvent those laws by altering a single atom or molecule of an already controlled drug to create a new, yet significantly similar substance – which in turn can make it harder to crack down on the importation of these drugs.
The bipartisan Stop Importation and Manufacturing of Synthetic Analogues Act would address this problem by allowing the Attorney General to regulate drugs that are substantively similar to already-scheduled controlled substances while more time-consuming testing, research, and analysis can be performed.
“Synthetic opioids are coming into the United States and making their way to New Hampshire, contributing to the opioid epidemic and leading to heart-breaking consequences,” said Senator Hassan. “The United States must do more to ensure that illicit drug makers can’t make a tiny change to a drug that makes it easier to enter the country. As part of my ongoing efforts to target drug trafficking and keep our communities safe, this bipartisan bill would help us better stem the flow of deadly opioids into our country.”
The legislation is supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, the National District Attorneys Association and the National Sheriff’s Association.
Senator Hassan has been a leader in Congress in combating the opioid epidemic, working with the rest of the New Hampshire delegation to secure more than $6 billion in the 2018 budget agreement for government-wide efforts to combat the epidemic, and making sure that the hardest-hit states – like New Hampshire – were prioritized in the appropriations process. The Senator also worked to pass the SUPPORT Act – which the President signed into law – that included critical priorities for New Hampshire such as establishing comprehensive opioid recovery centers and expanding access to medication-assisted treatment.