Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Fend Off Fentanyl Overdoses Poisoning Rochester

Jul 14, 2023

1.5x More People Die from Synthetic Opioids Than Car Crashes

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced the bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act, legislation that would help reduce fentanyl overdoses. Fentanyl is a silent killer that cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight when mixed with other drugs. 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 announced the bill at the Monroe County Office of Emergency Management and was joined by Assemblymember Jen Lunsford and the family of Paige Gibbons, who lost her life to a fentanyl overdose.

“No community, including Rochester, has been left untouched by the deadly impacts of silent killers like fentanyl. 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. 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.”

“Too many innocent lives have been lost and too many families torn apart by the devastating consequences of fentanyl,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “We must do more to combat the trafficking that allows this dangerous drug to spread across our streets, which is why I’m proud to support the FEND Off Fentanyl Act. I’m grateful to Senator Gillibrand for her leadership on this important issue and look forward to our continued work together to keep our communities safe.”   

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: 

  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.

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), Schatz (D-HI), Ricketts (R-NE), Klobuchar (D-MN), Blackburn (R-TN), Markey (D-MA), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Barrasso (R-WY), and Graham (R-SC).