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Cotton, Graham to Introduce Legislation Aimed at Fighting Opioid Epidemic

March 16, 2018

Contact: Caroline Tabler (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. – Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) will next week unveil legislation to help fight the opioid epidemic that will ensure penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking better reflect the nature of the crime. Fentanyl, a fully synthetic opioid, is 100 times more powerful than morphine. It has been a driving force behind the opioid epidemic in the United States and is being dumped here predominantly from China.

Specifically, this bill will reduce the amount of fentanyl required for mandatory sentencing minimums to apply in distribution cases. It will also provide resources to the Post Office to stop shipments of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids arriving from overseas. 

“Fentanyl has had a devastating impact on our country. More than 20,000 Americans were killed by fentanyl last year, and overall drug deaths have nearly doubled in the past decade. It’s past time the punishment matched the crime when it comes to opioid distribution and trafficking,” said Cotton.

“Fentanyl is one of the most deadly drugs on the market and I look forward to working with Senator Cotton to substantially increase penalties for those who traffic this horrific drug,” said Graham. “I’ll also be working with Senator Cotton and others to explore the possibility of even stronger penalties—that could include the death penalty if the fentanyl results in someone’s death—for those who choose to push this deadly drug into our communities. Increasing these mandatory minimums is well-justified.”

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