WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is working to keep deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl out of Ohio, and today 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.
Brown’s INTERDICT Act would provide 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. The INTERDICT Act passed the House Homeland Security Committee in September. At today’s Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to serve as the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Brown asked McAleenan to confirm that access to these screening devices would help CBP keep fentanyl out of the U.S.
“Any solution to the opioid crisis must include stopping fentanyl shipments from coming into the U.S.,” said Brown. “The INTERDICT Act – which Senator Portman and I partnered on with Senators Markey, Rubio and Capito – would provide your agents with more resources and equipment to screen packages. Can you confirm that having more portable screening devices would increase CBP’s ability to stop deadly drugs like fentanyl from entering the United States? And can you confirm that it will be a priority for you as Commissioner to procure more of these devices for your border agents?”
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.”
**Download production quality footage of the exchange HERE.**
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.