Legislation to combat opioid epidemic signed into law

H.R. 2142, authored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection the latest in chemical screening devices to detect fentanyl and other synthetic opioids

The Times

Legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick aimed at combating the opioid epidemic was signed into law by President Donald Trump last week at the White House.

The International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology Act [H.R. 2142] provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

“In 2016, more than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose, with nearly half being directly attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Halting the proliferation of these illicit drugs from Mexico and China is a crucial step in addressing our nation’s opioid epidemic,” Fitzpatrick said. “The INTERDICT Act is bipartisan legislation that provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection access to the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept synthetic opioids before they can cause harm. I’m proud that my first piece of legislation signed into law focuses on this important issue and works to keep this poison off our streets.”

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Although pharmaceutical fentanyl can be misused, most fentanyl deaths are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl and illicit versions of chemically similar compounds known as fentanyl analogs. The primary source of fentanyl is outside of the United States, in Mexico or China. The drug is smuggled in across the U.S. border or delivered via mail or express consignment couriers. Fentanyl can also be ordered online. Because of its potency, fentanyl typically comes in small amounts, making it more difficult for authorities to detect. ••