Cotton, Schumer Tackle Fentanyl Legislation To Target Chinese Manufacturers

The highly-potent synthetic opioid fentanyl is garnering bipartisan attention from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who are now, together, spearheading a push for legislation targeting communist China.

In recent years, fentanyl has been the fuel behind a vicious spike in opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. It only takes a dose equivalent to four grains of salt to kill the average adult, according to former Agent in Charge of the Special Operations Division at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration Derek Maltz who’s spoken with

17,000 Opioid Deaths

The illicit narcotic was responsible for 28,400 of nearly 70,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 alone, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. China is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of fentanyl. From China, its sent through the international mail system to the Western hemisphere. It makes its way to the U.S. via the Mexican drug cartels. Partisan politics aside, Cotton and Schumer are targeting the traffickers in an effort to save American lives.

“Some might find it unusual that a Republican from Arkansas and a Democrat from New York are working together on something. But when it comes to this issue we don’t think it’s unusual at all — we believe it’s necessary,” wrote the two lawmakers in an op-ed for USA Today.

Fentanyl Sanctions Act

The two lawmakers introduced the Fentanyl Sanctions Act this week. The bill seeks to better equip U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the resources needed to combat the illicit trafficking of fentanyl, while also directly targeting China.

According to the lawmakers, here’s exactly what the bill seeks to accomplish:

  • Require sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations in Mexico that mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the United States, and financial institutions that assist such entities. 
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Department of Treasury, Department of Defense, and Department of State, to combat foreign trafficking of opioids.
  • Urges the president to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to impose multilateral sanctions against foreign opioid traffickers.
  • Establish a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico, and elsewhere.

Sara A. Carter investigated the story earlier this year in her film “Not in Vein.” Carter followed the path that Fentanyl makes into the the U.S. and how the Mexican drug cartels are exploiting loopholes across the U.S. Mexico Southern border to move the deadly chemical and contraband further North. Click here to learn more about the film.