Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mike Bost (IL-12) today voted in favor of H.R. 2142, the International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology (INTERDICT) Act, a bipartisan bill to combat the opioid epidemic. The legislation provides the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enhanced chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The bill passed the House 412 to 3 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
“Opioids kill more people in Illinois than homicides and car crashes and drugs like fentanyl are responsible,” said Bost. “Fighting the opioid epidemic is not simply about fighting addiction. It’s also about saving lives by keeping poison like fentanyl from getting into the United States and reaching our community. We have a lot of work still to do, but the bipartisan bill passed today is a step in the right direction.”
Specifically, the INTERDICT Act:
- Ensures that CBP will have additional portable chemical screening devices available at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities, and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories.
- Provides CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field.
- Authorizes — based on CBP guidance — the appropriation of $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for support during all operational hours.
Legislative text for H.R. 2142 is available HERE.
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. According to the Illinois Department of Health, overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl, increased by 80% from 2013 to 2014.
The primary source of fentanyl is outside of the United States, in Mexico or China. The drug is smuggled across the U.S. border or delivered via mail or express consignment couriers. Fentanyl can also be ordered online. Due to its potency, fentanyl typically comes in small amounts, making it more difficult for authorities to detect.
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