Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Fend Off Fentanyl Overdoses Poisoning The Hudson Valley

Jun 23, 2023

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 New Paltz Police Department and was joined by County Executive Jen Metzger, Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa, New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez, and advocate Jillian Nadiak-Bruck. 

“No community, including the Hudson Valley, 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.”    

“Stopping the fentanyl epidemic isn’t about partisan politics– it’s about public safety. No mother in Chester, father in Kingston, or grandparent in Beacon should have to experience the pain of losing a loved one to an overdose,” said Congressman Pat Ryan. “I’m proud to support Senator Gillibrand on this legislation because we know the time for action is now. We need to attack the crisis head-on and crack down on this drug that is devastating Hudson Valley families.”

“Removing Fentanyl from our streets is a life or death situation, and with 65% of overdoses involving Fentanyl, we need every possible tool to keep this deadly substance out of our communities. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act will finally bring the power of the Federal Government to crack down on trafficking from the source, and help give law enforcement officers the tools they need to fight this crisis and save lives. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her work elevating this issue as a national emergency and look forward to the continued State and Federal partnerships we have to protect our community members from this deadly substance,” said New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey.

Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger said, “Senator Gillibrand is leading the charge in the fight against this crisis with the introduction of the Fend Off Fentanyl Act. This deadly substance has caused the senseless loss of so much life in Ulster County and across the country, and has wreaked havoc on families, neighborhoods, and communities. Senator Gillibrand’s dedication to our communities is evident in the comprehensive nature of this legislation, which elevates the urgency of the crisis, and mobilizes the necessary federal agencies and resources to disrupt supply chains and the money-laundering network supporting this deadly trade. Thank you Senator Gillibrand for your steadfast dedication to saving lives and bringing justice to the families and communities harmed by this insidious drug.”

“The drug crisis is a national issue with a regional impact felt deeply by our communities and citizens,” said SUNY New Paltz President Darrell P. Wheeler“We appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s efforts through the FEND Off Fentanyl Act to address the underlying factors that bring opioid trafficking to scale. This legislation will complement our continued localized work at the University to provide training and education, support resources, emergency NARCAN stations and more services, including for those in need of assistance.”

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).