Gillibrand bill would declare international fentanyl trafficking a national emergency
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced a bill to combat fentanyl overdose deaths. It would force President Joe Biden to declare international fentanyl trafficking a national emergency, and strengthen sanctions on traffickers.
Gillibrand said it would also pour more resources into local police departments, allowing police to trace international criminals and identify supply chains.
“This bill would help stem the tide of fentanyl flowing into communities like this one, and allow police departments to focus on other public safety challenges," Gillibrand said at the Nassau County Police Department training center in Garden City. "No one deserves to die because of a drug they may not even know that they are taking.”
Carole Trottere, whose son died of fentanyl poisoning in 2018, praised the bill.
"If a plane was shot out of the sky every day killing 175 people, we would certainly declare a national emergency," Trottere said. "Well, fentanyl is that plane crash."
The bipartisan legislation would target fentanyl production in Mexico, as well as the manufacturers of opioid ingredients in China.
The Drug Enforcement Agency seized enough fentanyl in New York last year for over three times the state's population, according to Gillibrand. In Nassau County alone, the synthetic opioid was involved in 70% of overdose deaths in 2021.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder revealed that his cousin died from fentanyl poisoning just weeks ago.
"It hits home to everybody in every community," Ryder said. "It has to send shockwaves through our communities."
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