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Reps. Wenstrup, Gonzales, Garbarino Declare Illicit Fentanyl a WMD in Reintroduction of the Stop Our Scourge Act

Washington, D.C. - Today, Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Tony Gonzales (R-TX), and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) introduced the Stop Our Scourge Act of 2023 to designate illicit fentanyl entering the United States from foreign countries as a weapon of mass destruction. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths rose to a record high of 109,680 in 2022, driven by fentanyl poisoning.

“As a physician, a lawmaker, and an Army veteran, I believe it is time we declare illicit fentanyl what it is: a weapon of mass destruction. In the past year, synthetic opioids like fentanyl killed someone every seven minutes," said Rep. Wenstrup. "I am reintroducing the Stop Our Scourge Act along with Reps. Gonzales and Garbarino in order to stop the deadly scourge of illicit fentanyl flowing across our porous border wrecking devastation across every community in America, killing our families, neighbors and friends. I urge my colleagues to join me in working to solve this crisis."

"Fentanyl overdose now ranks as the leading cause of death for adults in America," said Rep. Gonzales. "I am proud to reintroduce this critical legislation alongside Congressmen Wenstrup and Garbarino to ensure our communities have the resources they need to combat this crisis. The spread of illegal fentanyl has had a profound impact on communities across TX-23 and America, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to address the challenges posed by this epidemic."

"Last month on Long Island, police seized over six and a half pounds of fentanyl in a single bust. By the estimate of the Nassau County DA, the haul was enough fentanyl to ‘wipe out the population of Nassau County.’ Make no mistake, fentanyl is cheap, addictive, deadly, and making its way into our communities in alarming quantities," said Rep. Garbarino. "Fentanyl poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of Long Islanders. This legislation will not only make clear the dangers of fentanyl, but also require the Administration to conduct an assessment of all current tools and capabilities that can be used to address this crisis."

Click here to view full text of the bill.

Background: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 12,900 pounds of illicit fentanyl in fiscal year 2022 – an amount sufficient to kill over 2.9 billion people. This legislation would direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. It would also require the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to conduct an assessment of how Federal efforts to address trafficking can be improved, the capacity of the Mexican military to conduct counterdrug missions for illicit fentanyl, and the capacity and willingness of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl and hold traffickers accountable. Representatives Wenstrup and Gonzales introduced similar legislation in the previous Congress.