05.16.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Trump Administration Officials Discuss Need for Baldwin’s Legislation to Stop the Flow of Illicit Fentanyl into America

Baldwin’s bipartisan legislation would prevent illegal drugs from entering the country at International Mail Facilities

Officials from Customs and Border Protection agreed that Baldwin’s legislation could help make it easier to stop illicit drugs at the border

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During today’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin spoke with Trump administration officials on the steps needed to prevent illicit opioids, including methamphetamine, fentanyl and other illicit drugs from entering the country. Last month, Senator Baldwin introduced the bipartisan Restricting Entrance and Strengthening the Requirements on Import Controls for Trafficking (RESTRICT) Illicit Drugs Act with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) that would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more tools to prevent illegal fentanyl, opioids and other illicit synthetic drugs from entering the country at the border through our International Mail Facilities.

Officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agreed that Senator Baldwin’s bipartisan legislation could help speed up the process at mail facilities and make it easier for CBP and FDA officials to coordinate at the border to stop illicit drugs from coming into the United States.

“I asked Trump administration officials today about the need to strengthen our control over the flow of illicit drugs from other countries into America. The opioid epidemic is devastating families and communities throughout Wisconsin and a key way to help prevent this is to stop more illicit drugs like fentanyl, meth and illegal opioids from coming into this country. I have bipartisan legislation that passed out of committee to stop illegal opioids at the point of entry so I’m going to keep working to move it forward,” said Senator Baldwin following the hearing.

 

In 2016, 63,632 Americans died from drug overdoses and according to the CDC, the increase in overdose deaths is driven largely by deaths from synthetic opioids and illicit fentanyl.  Reports show that the synthetic opioid related overdose death rate more than doubled in 2016.  China is the primary source of fentanyl in the U.S. with many of these illicit drugs coming through our International Mail Facilities (IMFs).  More than 340 million packages reach the U.S. every year through IMFs from more than 180 countries. However, estimates show that we are only intercepting a small percentage of the illicit drugs smuggled through IMFs.

Senator Baldwin’s RESTRICT Illicit Drugs Act was included as part of the bipartisan legislative package, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, to bolster the federal response to the opioid epidemic that passed out of the Committee where it awaits action by the full Senate.

Read more about the RESTRICT Illicit Drugs Act here. The full text of the legislation is available here.