May 17, 2017

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Attend Bipartisan Senate Briefing with DEA on Illicit Fentanyl Crisis

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Attend Bipartisan Senate Briefing with DEA on Illicit Fentanyl Crisis

China is Primary Source of Illicit Fentanyl

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) attended a briefing for a bipartisan group of senators by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg on recent interactions with the Chinese government in addressing the illicit fentanyl crisis in America. Illicit fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine.

At the briefing, hosted by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Acting Administrator Rosenberg said China has been cooperative with the United States, recently placing controls on fentanyl analogs - synthetic opioids whose chemical structure is similar to fentanyl. In particular, the DEA reported that communication over the last few months between China and the United States has involved the sharing of intelligence information surrounding potential targets of interest involved in fentanyl distribution networks, as well as an open exchange of scientific information between the DEA and relevant Chinese officials. The briefing also addressed challenges that remain, including raising the issue of illicit fentanyl to the highest levels of the Chinese government.

"Fentanyl is now the main driver of the opioid crisis in New Hampshire and it's killing hundreds of Granite Staters every year," said Senator Shaheen. "It is critical that Congress treat this epidemic as both a foreign policy priority and a domestic public health emergency. I look forward to continuing to partner with the DEA as we fight to keep fentanyl and other synthetic opioids from flowing into the United States."

"I appreciated the opportunity to sit down with Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg and my colleagues from both parties to discuss the imminent threat of fentanyl, which is coming into our country from places such as China, killing more Americans with smaller amounts and jeopardizing our efforts to combat the opioid crisis," said Senator Hassan. "We all agreed that we need to stop the supply of fentanyl from coming into our country - which is why I am co-sponsoring the bipartisan STOP Act - while also addressing the demand side of this epidemic by increasing treatment capacity and expanding our prevention and recovery efforts."

The STOP Act is designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the United States.