On Wednesday, Bucks County Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick announced President Donald Trump signed the INTERDICT Act, a bill that gives Customs agencies needed support at the border in the fight against drug trafficking.
The International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Directing Incoming Contraband with Technology Act (INTERDICT) was sponsored by Fitzpatrick and Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts.
In a prepared statement, the Congressman noted the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) is the agency on the front line when it comes to detecting fentanyl and other synthetic opioids trafficked into the U.S. from Mexico, China, and elsewhere.
The INTERDICT Act will go a long way toward giving the border patrol agencies the help they need. The Act gives CBP additional portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry, mail and express consignment facilities and in the lab. It also appropriates $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices and other equipment.
Illicit fentanyl is a grave threat to U.S. citizens and the congressman said it is critical to provide CBP with the help it needs to stop fentanyl from getting into the U.S, and Bucks County, Fitzpatrick said.
However, CBP has had success interdicting these drugs with hi-tech chemical screening devices and scientific support, he added.
Note: Between 2014 and 2015, deaths involving synthetic opioids, which includes fentanyl increased by 72 percent, resulting in the loss of more than 9,500 lives.
In 2016, 42,000 Americans died as a result of illicit opioid drugs. -PW