WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) welcomed news from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it would establish six new enforcement teams focused on combatting fentanyl. Two of the six locations are in Ohio, one in Cincinnati and one in Cleveland. The sites were selected based on the opioid mortality rate, the number of heroin and fentanyl seizures and where DEA determined resources could have the greatest impact.
“Fentanyl has quickly become one of the biggest culprits of the drug overdoses tearing apart Ohio families, and this investment will mean more agents in Ohio working to stop the illegal forms of this drug from taking more lives,” said Brown. “Forming these teams shows the DEA knows Ohio is at the center of this epidemic, and needs every possible tool to keep heroin and fentanyl out of our state. Next, the Senate must pass my bill with Senator Portman to support law enforcement’s efforts to stop fentanyl at our borders.”
According to DEA, the teams will be comprised of DEA Special Agents and State and Local Task Force Officers, and will work to identify the trafficking of fentanyl and its analogues, and heroin.
Just this week, Brown’s bipartisan bill, the INTERDICT Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, setting it up for action in the Senate. Brown’s INTERDICT Act would provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with additional hi-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S. Brown’s bill is also supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act. Both are endorsed by law enforcement. The two bills work together to help block the deadly synthetic opioid from reaching Ohio communities. Brown also secured a commitment from President Trump’s nominee to lead CBP to work with Brown on the bill’s goals.
Yesterday, Brown welcomed news that the Administration followed through on issuing a Nationwide Public Health Emergency to address the opioid epidemic – but urged the Administration to use the declaration to take concrete actions, including additional investment in the people and programs on the frontline of the fight against opioids.