WASHINGTON – Representative French Hill (R-AR) introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act.
The bill is designed to fight the opioid epidemic by strengthening penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking and providing additional screening resources for the United States Postal Service.
“Across Arkansas, tearful families have told me their stories about how the opioid crisis has personally affected them, which is why I introduced this bill to step up penalties for fentanyl traffickers and provide necessary resources to track illegal shipments,” Rep. Hill said. “In 2017, the opioid epidemic caused over 45,000 deaths and killed more than 100 people a day – with a third of these deaths attributable to fentanyl and similar compounds. We can’t let another Arkansas family be devastated by this crisis, and this bill, coupled with a community-wide effort, will help fight this epidemic. I appreciate Senator Cotton’s support in the Senate on this important issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed in the House.”
“Given fentanyl’s incredible capability for destruction of human life, I am thankful for Congressman Hill’s leadership in the House and his dedication to ending the fentanyl scourge,” Senator Tom Cotton said. “Last year alone, fentanyl killed more than 20,000 Americans, and it has been a driving force behind the opioid crisis in the United States.”
Senator Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act in the Senate earlier this year with Senator John Kennedy (R-LA).
List of individuals and groups now supporting the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act:
- Kirk Lane, Arkansas Drug Director
- National Sheriff’s Association
- Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
- Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association
- One gram of fentanyl (approximately the amount in a Sweet ‘N Low packet) is enough to kill 500 people.
- The last year reported data was available (2016), confirmed drug overdose deaths rose in Arkansas by 17% (from 287 to 335), although law enforcement believes the real number to be much higher.
- Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and has played an outsized role in the opioid epidemic.
- This bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl and its analogs required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases.
- It will also provide resources to the United States Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas.