Rep. Tom Rooney Joined by Sen. John Kennedy in Bicameral Fight Against Fentanyl Trafficking
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) was joined in the fight against fentanyl trafficking by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who introduced Rooney’s Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act in the U.S. Senate.
The Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the amount of fentanyl needed to invoke the most serious trafficking penalties for an individual trafficking or illegally manufacturing the drug. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is also cosponsoring the measure.
Doctors typically prescribe fentanyl – a synthetic opioid – in small quantities to terminally-ill patients who are in tremendous pain. Unfortunately, drug traffickers are giving this highly lethal drug to drug abusers, resulting in overdoses and deaths. Fentanyl is incredibly dangerous and deadly, even in doses as small as a grain of sand.
Fentanyl addiction is causing a skyrocketing of preventable deaths, with more Americans dying in 2016 of a drug overdose than in any previous year.
In Florida, the numbers are staggering – overdose deaths increased by over 39 percent from July 2016 to July 2017.
“Without action, these overdose figures are only going to get worse,” Rooney said. “Under the current law, the threshold amount to invoke penalties is not appropriate with the strength of the drug. Individuals who are trafficking and profiting off fentanyl need to be adequately prosecuted in the hopes of stopping the alarming rising rate of fatal overdoses.”
“What drug traffickers are creating with fentanyl is devilishly deadly. They’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives by mixing heroin with a drug that is even more deadly than heroin itself,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Drug addicts don’t even realize the fentanyl is there because it looks just like heroin. We are at war in this country with opioid addiction. This bill puts us one step closer to winning that war and protecting our citizens.”
“We are losing too many of our friends, neighbors, and relatives to this destructive drug epidemic. I am proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing this important legislation that will help get Fentanyl off the street,” said Rep. Ryan. “We must respond to this crisis from all sides by improving coordination to reduce the number of drugs available, while also increasing and expanding access to treatment for those who are suffering.”
“The time is now to update our laws to get this incredibly dangerous synthetic drug off of the streets,” Rooney said.