Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Fend Off Fentanyl Overdoses Poisoning Long Island

Jun 20, 2023

Fentanyl Was Involved In 70% of Overdose Deaths in Nassau County In 2021;

1.5x More People Die from Synthetic Opioids Than Car Crashes

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her bill to fend off fentanyl overdoses that are poisoning Long Island’s communities at the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) Center for Training and Intelligence. Fentanyl is a silent killer that cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight when mixed with other drugs, and was involved in 70% of overdose deaths in Nassau County in 2021. The synthetic opioid is 50 times stronger than heroin. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379,000,000 deadly doses of fentanyl across the U.S. – enough to supply a lethal dose to every American. Senator Gillibrand was joined by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder, Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly, Long Island advocate Carole Trottere, and Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Steve Chassman.

“No community has been left untouched by the deadly impacts of silent killers like fentanyl, including Long Island. Just last year, the DEA seized enough deadly doses of fentanyl in New York for more than three times the state’s population,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act would target both cartels and individuals involved in producing and trafficking these dangerous drugs into the United States. It will better empower the government to sanction drug traffickers and combat money laundering schemes that make this trade profitable. We have lost far too many lives to fentanyl overdoses and I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to keep our communities safe from deadly synthetic opioids.”    

“The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) is grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her continued leadership in combating the national public health crisis surrounding fentanyl poisonings and the devastating fatality rates adversely impacting too many families across New York State and the nation. LICADD stands in support of the FEND Off Fentanyl Act with Senator Gillibrand in a collective effort to trigger a more robust national emergency response to address the fentanyl poisoning crisis that is taking the lives of too many valued and cherished souls. Thank you Senator Gillibrand,” said Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC – LICADD Executive Director.

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, to disrupt the flow of illicit opioids into the United States, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act would: 

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

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Brown (D-OH), Wicker (R-MS), Reed (D-RI), Vance (R-OH), Tester (D-MT), Lummis (R-WY), Sinema (I-AZ), Britt (R-AL), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kennedy (R-LA), Fetterman (D-PA), Hagerty (R-TN), Smith (D-MN), Menendez (D-NJ), Risch (R-ID), Van Hollen (D-MD), Moran (R-KS), Warner (D-VA), Daines (R-MT), Hassan (D-NH), Crapo (R-ID), Shaheen (D-NH), Collins (R-ME), Heinrich (D-NM), Braun (R-IN), Rosen (D-NV), Ernst (R-IA), Casey (D-PA), Cramer (R-ND), Baldwin (D-WI), Rounds (R-SD), Kelly (D-AZ), Capito (R-WV), King (I-ME), Scott (R-FL), Whitehouse (D-RI), Budd (R-NC), Tillis (R-NC), Manchin (D-WV), Cassidy (R-LA), Cornyn (R-TX), Wyden (D-OR), Schmitt (R-MO), Kaine (D-VA), Lankford (R-OK), Boozman (R-AR), Padilla (D-CA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Thune (R-SD), Peters (D-MI), Rubio (R-FL), Stabenow (D-MI), Sullivan (R-AK), and Schatz (D-HI).