Congressman Tim Ryan Votes in Favor of Bipartisan Anti-Fentanyl Bill

Washington, DC – Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) aimed at combating the role fentanyl plays in the opioid epidemic overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives today, in a vote of 412 to 3. The lead authors of this bill were Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

The International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology (INTERDICT) Act, or H.R. 2142, provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

“During my time in Congress I have met with countless local public safety and law enforcement officials from Ohio and across the country who have expressed an urgent need for more resources to combat drugs like fentanyl. This legislation directly addresses the needs of these officials. The rise of synthetic opioids are compounding the devastation already being caused by the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic. Providing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with appropriate technologically advanced equipment will improve their ability to stop these harmful drugs at their point of entry, before they’re ever allowed onto our streets. I was proud to cosponsor this important legislation, and was heartened to see the urgency of this problem reflected in the overwhelming final vote of passage,” said Congressman Ryan.

The INTERDICT Act was introduced in the Senate on a bipartisan basis by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

The INTERDICT Act:

  • Ensures that CBP will have additional portable chemical screening devices available at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities, and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories.
  • Provides CBP with resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field. 
  • Authorizes the appropriation of $9 million for new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for support during all operational hours.

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Although pharmaceutical fentanyl can be misused, most fentanyl deaths are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl and illicit versions of chemically similar compounds known as fentanyl analogs. The primary source of fentanyl is outside of the United States, in Mexico or China. The drug is smuggled in across the U.S. border or delivered via mail or express consignment couriers. Fentanyl can also be ordered online. Because of its potency, fentanyl typically comes in small amounts, making it more difficult for authorities to detect.  

Congressman Tim Ryan is the Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, and a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force.

Other Opioid Addiciton Legislative Actions by Congressman Ryan:

  • In the 114th Congress, Rep. Ryan joined Senator Portman, Senator Whitehouse, and Congressman Sensenbrenner in introducing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act(CARA), which leverages evidence-based law enforcement and health care services, including treatment that can be used to stop and reverse current trends. On July 22, 2016 CARA was signed into law.
  • Rep. Ryan led a letter urging President Trump to include $9.3 billion in his Fiscal  Year 2018 budget for 34 Administration programs at Department of Health and Human Services, Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Justice.
  • Rep. Ryan introduced the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act – increase penalties for fentanyl trafficking
  • Rep. Ryan and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) in introducing the STOP OD Act – which is designed to help stop synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers in the United States
  • Rep. Ryan introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act – which takes important steps to bring states closer to fully interoperable Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), to faster respond to inquiries and to better serve the public.
  • Rep. Ryan and Rep. Marcia Fudge introduced the Breaking Addiction Act, which takes steps to increase access to treatment by making changes to the IMD exclusion for substance abuse facilities. Under current law, the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion prohibits Medicaid matching payments for services provided in treatment facilities that have more than 16 beds.  The Breaking Addiction Act removes this outdated policy, allowing states to better utilize Medicaid to serve more people.