Press Release

Gillibrand Announces Senate Passage Of Bipartisan Legislation To Fend Off Fentanyl Overdoses Poisoning Binghamton

Jul 28, 2023

1.5x More People Die from Synthetic Opioids Than Car Crashes

Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Southern Tier Crime Analysis Center to announce Senate passage of her 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 was joined by Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, Broome County Director of Public Health Mary McFadden, Binghamton Police Captain David Bidwell, Helio Health Medical Director Dr. Ross Sullivan, and NY-NJ HIDTA Drug Intelligence Officer Jim Hawley.

“No community, including Binghamton, 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.”

“Fentanyl traffickers are destroying families and neighborhoods across Upstate New York. These new tools will help disrupt the cartels and kingpins flooding our streets with deadly narcotics, and expand federal resources to assist local law enforcement on the front lines of this crisis. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her commitment to this issue and taking meaningful action on legislation that matters to Binghamton,” said Mayor Jared Kraham.

“Broome County families have suffered devastating losses from the deceptive use of fentanyl in the drug landscape. We need help getting to the root of the issue. Public health is so grateful to Senator Gillibrand and her colleagues for bringing the upstream approach of the FEND Off Fentanyl Act forward to help conquer the dangerous and illegal trafficking of fentanyl,” said Mary McFadden, Director of Broome County Public Health.

“The Addiction Center of Broome County applauds US Senator Gillibrand’s legislation, FEND Off Fentanyl Act, to help reduce fentanyl overdoses, targeting both cartels and individuals involved in producing and trafficking. Our community has faced innumerable losses and needs every strategy possible. Federal support and recognition are desperately needed and appreciated to help individuals whose lives are in danger,” said Carmela Pirich, Executive Director of the Addiction Center of Broome County.

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), Graham (R-SC), Bennet (D-CO), Booker (D-NJ), Romney (R-UT), and Cantwell (D-WA) .