WASHINGTON — Sen. Gary Peters, D-MI, is introducing bipartisan legislation to crack down on Chinese fentanyl producers.
Peters and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, are cosponsoring the legislation called “Fentanyl Sanctions Act,” which would be the first of its kind to target fentanyl sanctions. They would be placed on Chinese drug manufacturers, trafficking organizations and financial groups that work with them.
Last year, Chinese regulators started classifying a wide range of fentanyl products as controlled substances, which was meant to increase regulations. Peters says China has not lived up to its promise.
“Efforts to get the Chinese to crack down at it have not been successful,” Peters says. “And that’s why this legislation is necessary to allow financial sanctions to be brought against China. We cannot allow this to continue. This poison is coming into our country. People are dying and we need to force the Chinese government to step up and help us deal with this problem.”
The legislation includes $600 million to fund law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent the drug from being trafficked into the United States.
“The United States right now is in a public health crisis when it comes to opioid addictions,” Peters tells FOX 17. “We’ve seen overdose deaths increase dramatically in just the last few years and unfortunately, Michigan, our overdose death rate is 50% higher than the national level.”
Capito’s home state of West Virginia experiences starker fentanyl death rates at 250% higher than the national average.
“West Virginia has been devastated by the opioid crisis, and fentanyl plays a lethal role in far too many West Virginia communities,” Capito said in a release.
Others who support this legislation include Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PA.