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Senator Hassan Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Combat Deadly Fentanyl Epidemic

WASHINGTON -- Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) helped introduce bipartisan legislation led by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to aid in combating the deadly fentanyl epidemic. “Bruce’s Law,” named after Robert “Bruce” Snodgrass, who passed away from a fentanyl overdose in 2021, will bolster federal prevention and education efforts surrounding the dangers of drugs laced with fentanyl. It also authorizes new Community-Based Coalition Enhancement grants to help educate young people about the risks of street drugs laced with fentanyl. This would allow Drug-Free Communities Coalitions to access new funding focused on fentanyl to try to curb its use.

“Bruce’s story echoes that of many Granite Staters whose families and communities continue to be devastated by fentanyl and the substance misuse crisis,” said Senator Hassan. “This is an issue that should be approached from all angles to prevent more lives lost, which is why we provide educational grants in this bipartisan bill to increase awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. I am proud to cosponsor bipartisan legislation like Bruce’s Law to continue addressing the substance misuse crisis and pushing for necessary resources.”

“We cannot stand idly by and allow the fentanyl epidemic to wreak havoc on individuals, families, and communities across our state,” Senator Murkowski said. “The passing of Bruce Snodgrass was heartbreaking and all too familiar. I continue to read headline after headline in our local press – and directly from Alaskans who are impacted – about the fentanyl crisis intensifying. We also know that we’re not alone, that this is a national crisis, and that we need to do more. We have an opportunity to help change that through this legislation. I thank advocates like Sandy Snodgrass and all of the individuals who helped us craft this bill, and urge my colleagues to swiftly take up and pass it.”  

“On October 26, 2021, my 22-year-old son, Bruce, died by fentanyl poisoning in Anchorage, Alaska. Since that day, I have learned that the amount of fentanyl that it takes to kill you can sit on the tip of a pencil. Since that day, I have learned that drug overdose, largely due to fentanyl poisoning, is the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. Since that day, I have learned that all illicit drugs in this country need to be suspected of being poisoned by fentanyl. Since that day, I have learned that Bruce was one of nearly 108,000 Americans that died of a drug overdose in 2021, with the majority of deaths due to fentanyl poisoning. Since that day, I have learned that the CDC reports to date in 2022, an American dies every 5 minutes of a drug overdose. Since that day, my sole purpose has been, and will continue to be, to raise awareness and provide education to stem the death toll that Fentanyl poisoning is wreaking in our country. Today, I ask all members of Congress to stand with Senator Murkowski, Senator Feinstein, Senator Sullivan and Senator Hassan in support of Bruce’s Law, and to join us in raising awareness and providing education to as many Americans as we can reach, as quickly as we can reach them. Time is not on our side!” said Sandy Snodgrass, Bruce’s Mom.

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 such as China that are facilitating America’s fentanyl-fueled opioid crisis. The Senator recently joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in introducing legislation to implement new penalties for counterfeit pill production. 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 pressed the DEA to further 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.