WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the midst of a nationwide drug epidemic, law enforcement officers are hoping passage of a Senate bill will aid them in their fight against a particularly dangerous illegal narcotic.
State and national law enforcement organizations have endorsed U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) bipartisan legislation, the INTERDICT Act, to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) keep Fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, out of the United States.
The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police; National Fraternal Order of Police; Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association; National Sheriff’s Association; Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; National Border Control Council; Former CBP Director (and former head of Office of National Drug Control Policy and Seattle Chief of Police) Gil Kerlikowske; Police Addiction And Recovery Initiative (PAARI); and the National Tactical Officers Association are among the organizations which have endorsed Brown’s bill.
Brown’s bill is also supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act, which is also endorsed by law enforcement. The two bills work together to help block the deadly synthetic opioid from reaching Ohio communities.
“Law enforcement agents know what works to keep fentanyl out of the U.S. and we need to give them the tools they need to get the job done safely and effectively,” said Brown. “I will continue working with law enforcement, Senator Portman, and our colleagues in Congress to prevent deadly synthetic opioids from devastating Ohio communities.”
Brown introduced the bill with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and in addition to Portman, it is supported by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia). The bill would provide CBP with additional high-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect Fentanyl before it enters the U.S. The senators developed the legislation in consultation with CBP based on their guidance about the best way to way to cut down on Fentanyl entering the country.
“Your bill would aid CBP’s role in halting illicit Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids from entering the United States from countries like Mexico and China. Furthermore, your bill would protect the safety of CBP officers from exposure to these deadly synthetic opioids,” wrote the National Sheriffs’ Association in its endorsement letter.
Brown’s bill would authorize $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for 24×7 lab support. The money will be used to provide more portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories. The legislation would also provide CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field.
The bill contends providing CBP with more screening devices and lab support will not only stop more Fentanyl from coming into the United States, it will also protect more agents in the field from exposure to dangerous substances.
Darke County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker offered his thoughts on the legislation.
“The Darke County Sheriff’s Office supports legislation that will stop the flow of illegal opiates and opioids like Fentanyl and Carfentanyl from entering the United States of America, the State of Ohio and Darke County,” he said. “We support efforts to provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary tools, equipment and resources to detect illegal substances. The fight to reduce and control illegal drugs and addiction is multifaceted and includes a balance of enforcement, treatment and prevention measures.”
“I believe it starts with talking to our children about drugs and making good healthy decisions. Educating our children is something each parent or primary caregiver can do in our community and it does not cost any thing but time,” he added.
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