COLD SPRING – On Friday, July 28, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Philipstown Town Hall to announce Senate passage of her FEND Off Fentanyl Act, legislation that would help reduce fentanyl overdoses. Fentanyl is a silent killer that cannot be detected by taste, smell, or sight when mixed with other drugs. The synthetic opioid is 50 times stronger than heroin. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379,000,000 deadly doses of fentanyl across the U.S. – enough to supply a lethal dose to every American. Senator Gillibrand was joined by Congressman Mike Lawler, State Senator Rob Rolison, Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne, Putnam County Legislator Nancy Montgomery, Village of Cold Spring Police Department Officer in Charge Larry Burke, and St. Christopher’s Inn Executive Director Dr. James Schiller.
“No community, including Cold Spring, has been left untouched by the deadly impacts of silent killers like fentanyl. Just last year, the DEA seized enough deadly doses of fentanyl in New York for more than three times the state’s population,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act would target both cartels and individuals involved in producing and trafficking these dangerous drugs. It will better empower the government to sanction drug traffickers and combat money laundering schemes that make this trade profitable. We have lost far too many lives to fentanyl overdoses and I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to keep our communities safe.”
“With New York and our country in the midst of the worst drug crisis in our history, we need every tool at our disposal to check the international cartels and cut off their funding. I am grateful to Senator Gillibrand for supporting bipartisan federal legislation which would empower the executive branch to take the fight to the drug traffickers and kingpins poisoning our country. As a former police officer, I will continue to stand with those who support consensus solutions to enhance the health, safety, and well-being of New Yorkers in the face of this fentanyl epidemic,” said state Senator Rob Rolison (39th District).
“The opioid epidemic remains the public health crisis of our lifetime, and the pervasiveness of fentanyl in communities across the country has only exasperated the problem. We cannot continue to allow drug cartels and other bad actors to get away with profiting off murdering hundreds of thousands of Americans. I thank the Senator for coming to Putnam County and for her efforts to further raise awareness about this critical issue.” Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne.
“Philipstown continues to lost family members and loved ones. Fentanyl hit the streets in the Hudson Valley in 2013 and continues to wreak havoc on our tiny little community. The number one question my constituents as is why can’t we go after the individuals producing and trafficking fentanyl. Our hearts are broken and our hands have been tied until now. I am beyond grateful that Senator Gillibrand is bringing this important bipartisan legislation to the table.” County Legislator Nancy Montgomery.
The majority of illegal fentanyl entering the United States is made with Chinese precursor chemicals and manufactured in Mexico. This bill will empower the U.S. government to go after the cartels bringing these dangerous drugs into the United States and those producing and shipping the precursor materials. It also enhances sanctions enforcement and gives the Treasury Department tools to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
Specifically, to disrupt the flow of illicit opioids into the United States, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act would:
* Declare the international trafficking of fentanyl a national emergency.
* Require the president to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
* Enable the president to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
* Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations, making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
* Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
* Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
* Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.