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Heinrich Welcomes Inclusion of FEND Off Fentanyl Act in Senate Defense Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomed the inclusion of the FEND Off Fentanyl Act in the Senate’s annual defense bill. Senator Heinrich is a co-sponsor of the FEND Off Fentanyl Act and has been fighting for measures to tackle the opioid epidemic through this and other efforts. The Senate voted yesterday to begin debate on the defense bill. 

“The heartache of losing a loved one to the opioid epidemic is not new to New Mexican families. But its danger has grown with the lethality and magnitude of fentanyl making its way into our schools and communities,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to help advance the FEND Off Fentanyl Act in the Senate to cut off the illicit supply of fentanyl from China and Mexico – so we can target fentanyl before it ever hits our borders. This is an important step, and I’ll continue the work of fighting this epidemic head-on.”

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act imposes new sanctions and cuts off illicit fentanyl at the source. The bipartisan legislation, which Heinrich cosponsored, is led by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Read the bill’s one-pager HERE, and the full bill text HERE.

This major step forward for the FEND Off Fentanyl Act follows Senator Heinrich’s successful inclusion of two key provisions in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that advanced out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan vote earlier this month.

Those provisions in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill include:

New Fentanyl Tracking System: Senator Heinrich successfully included language directing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to develop a comprehensive fentanyl tracking system. This system will track and document where fentanyl is seized, the chemical composition of seized substances, probable or known manufacturing location, and probable or known point of entry into the United States. This new comprehensive tracking system will be critical to better understanding the movement of illicit drugs into and within the United States and more effectively combatting the fentanyl drug epidemic.

Removing Barriers to Lifesaving Medication: Senator Heinrich successfully included language directing the DEA to take further actions to remove barriers to access for opioid use disorder medications, clarifying the difference between suspicious orders of opioids and suspicious orders of buprenorphine on the Suspicious Orders Report System (SORS). This effort will assist local medical and mental health providers looking to remove bureaucratic barriers to accessing prescriptions for buprenorphine, a lifesaving medication.