Brown Calls for Senate Passage of Bill to Keep Illegal Fentanyl out of Ohio

This Morning, Brown Secured a Commitment from President Trump’s Customs Nominee to Work with Him to Meet Bill’s Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called for Senate passage of his bill to keep deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl out of Ohio following passage of the bill in the House of Representatives. The INTERDICT Act passed in the House today, and now awaits action in the Senate.

“Law enforcement need every tool at their disposal to keep this deadly drug out of Ohio communities,” said Brown. “I call on my colleagues to pass this bill in the Senate so we can take a concrete step toward preventing this drug from ruining more lives.”

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.

Today in the Finance Committee, Brown secured a commitment from a key Trump Administration nominee to work with Brown to make sure customs agents have the equipment to identify fentanyl and keep the deadly drug out of Ohio. At today’s Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to serve as CBP Commissioner, Brown asked McAleenan to confirm that access to these screening devices would help CBP keep fentanyl out of the U.S.

McAleenan said he’d work with Brown saying, “Technology to both identify fentanyl in shipments and to test it effectively is absolutely essential to successful interdiction, and interdicting fentanyl and prioritizing technologies that help us do it better will absolutely be a priority.”

The INTERDICT Act would authorize $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for 24x7 lab support. The money will be used to:

  • Provide more portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories.
  • Provide CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field. 

Providing CBP with more screening devices and lab support will not only stop more fentanyl from coming into the U.S., but it will also protect more agents in the field from exposure to dangerous substances.