WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) praised unanimous passage by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today of S. 1106, the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting Results Act (FENTANYL Results Act) that will help stem the flow of fentanyl and other illicit synthetic drugs to the U.S. and elsewhere. The FENTANYL Results Act, sponsored by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which increases U.S. capacity to track illicit drugs like fentanyl, includes a specific provision authored by Cardin, Hagerty and Cornyn that identifies countries that produce precursor chemicals needed to manufacture such narcotics. Currently, the Foreign Assistance Act definition of “major illicit drug producing country” includes only those who cultivate and produce illicit drugs, but it excludes countries like China that are a significant source of the precursor chemicals needed for “the illicit production of narcotics and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances.”
The Centers for Disease Control reported last month that deaths from overdoses topped 100,000 for 2021, the largest number recorded. The Maryland Department of Health reported a 378% increase in opioid-related deaths between 2011 and 2021, with 1,904 deaths reported last year in Maryland alone. Two-thirds were linked to fentanyl, which is largely supplied by Mexico-based cartels that rely on Chinese-made precursor drugs. According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, China is the world’s largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients used to manufacture illegal narcotics.
“China must stop facilitating the flow of deadly, illicit drugs to the U.S. and around the world. They cannot continue providing the chemicals used by others to make fentanyl and other drugs that are killing Americans,” said Senator Cardin. “We have a responsibility to pursue all means possible to stop this fatal epidemic of overdoses. In addition to reducing demand, in part by increasing access to treatment, we must cut off the flow of these illicit drugs at all stages of production. I appreciate the partnership of Senators Cornyn and Hagerty in recognizing the impact we can have by calling out China and other countries for their role enabling the flow of illegal narcotics. I thank fellow Marylander, Congressman David Trone, for leading the fight in the House of Representatives to stop the flow of fentanyl into this country.”
“As record deaths from overdoses—most from fentanyl—have become the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45, Congress must do more to stop the flow of this dangerous drug into our country,” said Senator Hagerty. “While securing our southern border is a critical step in stopping the entry of fentanyl into the United States, we must also confront the source of this shockingly lethal drug—the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture it, much of which are sourced from Communist China. I applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s support of this bipartisan bill, including our bipartisan amendment, and I thank my colleagues for their partnership in making every effort to counter the flow of fentanyl and precursors—the narcotic equivalents of weapons of mass destruction—from China into the United States.”