Kuster, Jenkins, MacArthur, Norcross Introduce STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act
(Washington, DC) – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), Evan Jenkins (R-WV), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ), members of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, introduced the STOP (Surveillance and Testing of Opioids to Prevent) Fentanyl Deaths Act to address one of the most pressing public health dangers in the country. The STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act would create grant funding to assist states and municipalities in identifying fentanyl in both fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses. The legislation would also create a pilot program allowing states to develop unique “point of use” drug testing programs. Across the United States, synthetic opioid deaths doubled between 2015 and 2016 with 19,000 Americans dying from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.
“Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, are having a deadly impact throughout New Hampshire and the country,” said Rep. Kuster, the founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “Public health officials face a daunting task identifying the various substances involved in an overdose and our legislation will support efforts to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the spread and impact of synthetic opioids. The opioid epidemic isn’t a partisan issue and I’m encouraged by the eagerness of both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to come together behind proposals that will help to address this national crisis.”
“Just last week in my hometown of Huntington, W.Va., a coordinated drug takedown seized enough doses of fentanyl to kill 250,000 people,” said Rep. Jenkins, a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “Illicit fentanyl remains a critical health and public safety threat, which is why we are introducing the STOP Fentanyl Deaths Act. This important legislation will improve our ability to test and respond to fentanyl trafficking and overdoses, and I thank my colleagues Reps. Kuster, MacArthur, and Norcross for their leadership in fighting the opioid epidemic.”
“Since the start of the New Year, over 850 New Jerseyans have died from drug overdoses largely caused by opioids like fentanyl and heroin,” said Rep. McArthur, co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “One more lost loved one is too many and we must do all we can to stop these drugs from flowing into our communities. This bipartisan legislation will help us stop the spread of fentanyl on our streets and save lives. I’m grateful that members of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force were able to work together and support this critical legislation.”
“Addiction is not a personal choice, but a disease – and we need our policies to match that reality,” said Congressman Donald Norcross, Vice-Chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. “In New Jersey, deaths from heroin and fentanyl overdoses more than tripled in the last five years. It’s clear we need to take new, innovative approaches to save lives. The disease of addiction has taken far too many children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors, and I will keep working on productive, bipartisan solutions that will help us fight the growing epidemic.”