Contact: Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353

February 27, 2020



 Cotton, Loeffler, Blackburn Target Deceptive Fentanyl Traffickers

Washington, D.C. — Earlier today, U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) introduced the Zero Tolerance for Deceptive Fentanyl Trafficking Act. The bill would increase penalties for fentanyl traffickers who intentionally misrepresent the drug to unknowing customers. Bill text may be found here. Additional information may be found here.


“Drug dealers who peddle fentanyl know just how deadly it is, but the worst of them lace other drugs with it and then sell their poison to unknowing customers. By tricking their victims into buying much more potent drugs than expected, these dealers often kill their customers. We shouldn’t have any tolerance for such a fatal act of deception,” said Cotton.


“What fentanyl has done to Tennesseans, families and communities is just devastating, and those criminals responsible for distributing these drugs must face serious penalties. Addressing the opioid crisis requires a multifaceted approach from officials at the local, state and national levels. I am pleased to partner with Senators Cotton and Loeffler to combat the tragic reality of opioid addiction and to hold drug traffickers accountable for their dangerous conduct,” said Blackburn.


“One of the most lethal opioids is fentanyl, with thousands of overdose deaths being attributed to this highly-potent drug every year. Criminals who lace fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the United States must be held accountable for their deceptive, illegal and often deadly schemes. It’s time that our legal penalties properly reflect the seriousness and the fatal consequences of pushing these dangerous substances,” said Loeffler.





·      Under this legislation, dealers who intentionally misrepresent their product as a non-fentanyl substance would face a 20-year sentence, or a life sentence for those with prior felony convictions.

·      If the dealers intentionally included fentanyl to cause death—often because they want to increase the reputation of their product’s potency—then the offense becomes death penalty eligible.

·      The bill would also make permanent the Drug Enforcement Administration’s current but temporary scheduling of synthetic fentanyl drugs as controlled substances.