Press Release

Following Her Relentless Advocacy, Gillibrand Announces Passage Of Legislation To Fight Fentanyl Crisis

May 1, 2024

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a virtual press conference to announce the passage of the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act as part of the national security supplemental. The legislation will empower the U.S. government to go after the producers and traffickers bringing dangerous drugs into the country and help end the opioid epidemic. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight when mixed with other drugs. The fentanyl crisis has affected nearly every community in New York, and over the past year, Gillibrand has met with families of overdose victims and law enforcement fighting the fentanyl crisis across the state, including in New York City, Utica, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Binghamton, and Long Island

No community has been left untouched by the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Over the past few years, I’ve met with multiple law enforcement agencies struggling to control the flow of fentanyl into their communities, and I’ve heard too many tragic stories from New Yorkers who’ve lost friends and family to fentanyl overdoses. This legislation will help us target both the cartels and the individuals responsible for bringing these deadly drugs into our country and will empower the government to sanction drug traffickers and combat money laundering schemes that make this trade profitable. I am proud that Congress passed this bill.”

The majority of illegal fentanyl entering the United States is made with Chinese precursor chemicals and manufactured in Mexico. This bill will empower the U.S. government to go after the cartels bringing these dangerous drugs into the United States and those producing and shipping the precursor materials. It also enhances sanctions enforcement and gives the Treasury Department tools to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.

Specifically, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act will:

  1. Declare the international trafficking of fentanyl a national emergency.
  2. Require the president to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  3. Enable the president to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  4. Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations, making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  5. Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
  6. Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  7. Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.