Cassidy, Cornyn, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Prevent Fentanyl Poisoning

Published 7:20 am Friday, July 28, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statements on introduction of their Fentanyl Safe Testing and Overdose Prevention Act, which would help prevent deaths from fentanyl poisoning by increasing access to fentanyl test strips:

“There is more than one way to decrease the number of people dying from fentanyl,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This is one of them. Let’s use every tool that we have.”

“Fentanyl is ravaging Texas communities, and poisonings among children and teenagers have skyrocketed in recent years given the rise in fake prescription pills containing this deadly drug,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help prevent deaths due to fentanyl poisoning by giving people the tools to identify it, and I urge my colleagues to pass it without delay.”

“The fentanyl and xylazine crisis is inflicting unspeakable harm on communities in Delaware and across America. We must promote the use of tools that can prevent unnecessary tragedies,” said Senator Coons. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Sen. Cornyn and my colleagues to make expressly clear under federal law what is already commonsense: testing strips save lives and should be readily and legally accessible throughout the country.”

“Over 100,000 Americans died from drug deaths last year, many after ingesting fentanyl. This legislation will help prevent overdoes by making it easier for medical clinics and individuals to rapidly test illegal drugs to find out if they have fentanyl in them,” said Senator Cotton. “This alone will not solve the drug crisis we face, but it will help prevent overdoses by people who didn’t realize fentanyl was in the drugs they took.”

“The fentanyl crisis has been exacerbated by the fact that too often those harmed by this deadly substance do not even realize that they are ingesting it. By making it clear that communities can use life saving fentanyl testing strips” said Senator Klobuchar. “Our legislation will help ensure better detection of this dangerous substance and prevent avoidable tragedies.”

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Jasmine Crockett (D-TX-30) and Lance Gooden (R-TX-05).

Background

In 2022, 68% of the 107,081 reported drug overdose deaths were from synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl. Xylazine has been increasingly found in fentanyl products, and the percentage of fentanyl-involved deaths with xylazine detected increased 276% from January 2019 to June 2022. In March of this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator stated, “xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier.” The DEA’s lab has also found that six out of ten fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills analyzed in 2022 contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl.

This legislation would help prevent overdose deaths by giving people the ability to know if a drug or pill they are about to take has been mixed with fentanyl.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, Conservative Political Action Coalition, Faith and Freedom Coalition, National District Attorneys Association, Fraternal Order of the Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, Louisiana Sheriffs Association, National Association of Counties, Addiction Policy Forum, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and Right on Crime.