Administration

Trump signs bipartisan bill to combat synthetic opioids

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President Trump signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday aimed at stopping powerful synthetic opioids from coming into the country illegally.

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers attended the bill signing, a rare showing of bipartisanship with members of both parties seeking to show their support for tackling the issue.

The opioid epidemic has been ravaging the country, and the rates of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl — which can be 50 more times potent than heroin — more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.

Vice President Pence stood behind Trump for the bill signing. The president was flanked by a gathering of other lawmakers including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), among others.

The bill, called the Interdict Act, passed the House by a vote of 412-3 last year and was adopted in December by unanimous consent in the Senate — which requires every senator to sign off.

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Specifically, it aims to give the U.S. Customs and Border Protection more chemical screening devices at entry ports and mail facilities; bolster the resources to interpret these screening tests; and authorize money for both actions.

“This law will help provide badly needed resources to those on the front lines who are protecting our country from the scourge of fentanyl. Fentanyl presents a grave threat to all Americans. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection the latest technological tools available to interdict this deadly drug,” Markey, who introduced the measure in the Senate, said in a release.

Trump has said he’s committed to curbing the opioid crisis and declared the epidemic a national public health emergency in late October.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are ramping up the pressure for a larger spending package to include robust funding for the opioid epidemic.

Tags Donald Trump Ed Markey Maggie Hassan Michael McCaul Shelley Moore Capito
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