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Bipartisan bill cosponsored by Ohio US Sen. Sherrod Brown seeks to sanction fentanyl suppliers

CLEVELAND — Bipartisan legislation introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) is targeting the suppliers of fentanyl to the United States.

The bill would require the President of the United States to sanction international criminal organizations and drug cartel leaders who are participating in Fentanyl trafficking, and also allow the chief executive to use money forfeited from those sanctions to assist law enforcement in helping get fentanyl off the streets and declare international fentanyl trafficking a national emergency. 

“In Cuyahoga County alone, 340 Ohioans have died of drug overdoses in the first half of this year,” Brown told reporters Wednesday in Cleveland. “The County Medical Examiner has been clear that fentanyl is to blame for this spike, a more potent fentanyl that is often mixed in with other drugs when the user doesn’t even know that.”

June proved to be a very deadly month for Cuyahoga County, with 47 overdose deaths confirmed and 10 investigations still pending. Things are very different than they were five years ago when Mackenzie Madigan began at the coroner’s office, and she and local law enforcement are happy to think about the potential impact of this legislation.

“[The] fentanyl crisis hadn’t quite taken hold at that time [when I started],” Madigan said. “Things were going on in the community, but [we] weren’t aware of what a big crisis it was.”

“It was very refreshing to see that [the legislation] also allows the U.S. Treasury to mention some of these funds in suspicious activity reports,” Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel added.

In the meantime, the focus is on prevention through fentanyl test strips, or finding treatment options for those who are ready. If you need assistance, you can call the 988 crisis hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County at (216) 623-6888.

“If you have suspicion of your loved one using, it’s a difficult conversation to have, but it’s an important conversation to have,” Madigan said.

Brown and Scott’s bill — officially referred to as the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act — recently cleared the Senate as part of its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which will now need to be reconciled with the House of Representatives. The original legislation sports 65 additional cosponsors, including Republican and Brown’s fellow Ohioan JD Vance.

Source: wkyc.com



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