Dear Mr. Speaker, Senators Schumer and McConnell, and Representative Jeffries,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our continued strong support for H.R. 3333/S. 1271, the “Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act.” As negotiations on the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) continue, we urge that this critical legislation be kept in the final draft.
Fentanyl is killing Americans. In 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose—65% of which are attributable to fentanyl. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs were recently found to be “the main driver of drug overdose deaths with a nearly 7.5-fold increase from 2015 to 2021” by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The U.S. drug overdose death toll for 2022 is nearly 110,000, mostly from synthetic drugs like fentanyl, making it the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-49.
It is time that we recognize the nature of the threat our country is facing and develop a comprehensive, national strategy to reduce overdoses, disrupt trafficking operations, attack the traffickers with sanctions, and prioritize anti-money laundering efforts related to the illicit opioid trade. The FEND Off Fentanyl Act correctly identifies that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency that poses a direct threat to American lives. The legislation would direct the resources of the U.S. government to target the fentanyl supply chain from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels in Mexico smuggling it into the United States, by implementing and enforcing sanctions on criminal actors and organizations. The bill would also direct the U.S. Department of the Treasury to use special measures to combat money-laundering operations related to trafficking in fentanyl and similar opioids which will reduce the profitability of the drug trade and help bring those who profit from the deaths of American citizens to justice.
On behalf of the more than 373,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we strongly urge that the “FEND Off Fentanyl Act” remain a part of the FY2024 NDAA. If I can provide any additional information in support of this legislation, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.