Bipartisan House Takes Aim at Chinese Opioids

( – The surge of fentanyl in the United States has caused tens of thousands of deaths each year, with many of those deaths likely the result of poisoning rather than overdose. Many who die from the drug believe they are taking a less powerful opioid, such as hydrocodone. Fentanyl can be up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, and the precursors for the drug originate from China.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently indicted three companies in China for providing precursors to the manufacturers who make fentanyl and smuggle it into the United States, and now Congress is acting to put a stop to the flow of the deadly drug.

The devastating crisis has prompted a bipartisan effort to go after these Chinese companies, with Republican Representative Andy Barr (Kentucky), introducing the Stop Chinese Fentanyl Act of 2023. Three Democrat Representatives have signed on to co-sponsor the bill, which Rep. Barr believes will pass in the House with ease. The Senate is also looking to cripple the precursor companies, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is considering including sanctions in the upcoming defense spending bill.

On July 18, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released an updated count of fentanyl seizures, reporting over 22,000 pounds confiscated in 2023, an increase of nearly 13,000 pounds from the same time in fiscal year 2022. In April, the Biden administration announced a global effort to stop drug traffickers from transporting fentanyl throughout the world by shutting down their networks of operation. The United States has urged China to assist in stopping the chemical manufacturing companies from distributing the precursors, but the Chinese government is demanding that the United States lift certain sanctions before they will agree to help. Reports that the Biden administration is considering the deal surfaced on July 24, but nothing official has been decided just yet. The record level of overdose deaths has all but forced the Biden administration and Congress to finally take meaningful action to combat the crisis.

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