Press Releases

Kuster Urges Comprehensive Approach To Combat Fentanyl Crisis

**Kuster urged her colleagues to support a more forward-focused and expansive response to the overdose epidemic**


Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02), founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, urged her colleagues to support her bipartisan legislation, the STOP Fentanyl Overdoses Act, to address the fentanyl crisis, stop the flow of illicit drugs entering the U.S., and take a public health approach to help save lives. Kuster spoke on the floor in response to Republican legislation, the HALT Fentanyl Act, which only takes the limited step of scheduling fentanyl, but fails to address the complex nature of this crisis.


The STOP Fentanyl Overdoses Act would take concrete steps forward to address the substance use crisis and change our national approach by:

  • Expanding testing for fentanyl and related substances and increasing information sharing by public health departments and law enforcement for the purpose of identifying public health threats and preventing overdoses;
  • Providing grant funding to compile overdose data through the CDC and facilitate surveillance of seized heroin, fentanyl, and associated synthetic drugs by forensic laboratories;
  • Improving accessibility to overdose reversal medications and ensuring they are more available across the country;
    • This is a change from the original version of the legislation.
  • Limiting civil and criminal liability under specified laws for individuals who administer opioid overdose reversal medication to an individual who reasonably appears to be experiencing an overdose;
  • Establishing a program to offer medication treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) to individuals who are incarcerated;
  • Providing grant funding to states and local government entities to educate health care providers, criminal justice professionals, and substance use disorder treatment personnel on the current state of research on treatment for opioid dependence; and
  • Requiring reporting that will help to enhance surveillance, prevention, and treatment efforts, including a report on naloxone access and affordability, international mail and cargo screening, and overdose prevention centers.   


Kuster’s full remarks, as prepared, are below. You can watch her full remarks here.



Thank you, Ranking Member Pallone.


Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in opposition to H.R. 467, the HALT Fentanyl Act.


The fentanyl crisis has touched every community across our state and country. We need to take serious, bipartisan action to address this epidemic and save lives.


Unfortunately, the legislation on the floor tonight misses the mark.


The HALT Fentanyl Act does not address how these dangerous drugs enter our country nor does it include any measures to address the underlying demand driving the substance use crisis.


This bill simply preserves the status quo by continuing to schedule fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I, which has been the case since 2018, and under current law, will be the case until December of 2024.


Scheduling alone will not change the overdose crisis. We need to broaden our scope.


I urge this body to instead consider a public health approach to address this crisis.


I’m leading with Lisa Blunt-Rochester (DE-AL) and Don Bacon (NE-02) a bipartisan, alternative bill that would address both the supply of and demand for illicit fentanyl in this country.


Our bill, the STOP Fentanyl Overdoses Act, will enhance fentanyl surveillance through investments in technology, dedicate resources to strengthen law enforcement response, and improve data collection of seized drugs.


The bill will also help reduce the demand for illicit drugs by expanding access to recovery resources, protecting people who administer opioid reversal drugs, and supporting education on the harms of drug misuse.


The STOP Fentanyl Overdoses Act is an alternative to the scheduling-only approach on the floor. An issue this complex requires an equally comprehensive solution.


 Fentanyl doesn’t care about our politics — neither should our approach to addressing the overdose crisis. I urge my colleagues to consider my alternative, bipartisan solution.


Thank you