Rep. Greg Stanton introduced the bipartisan Stop Pills That Kill Act alongside Reps. Ken Buck of Colorado, David Joyce of Ohio, and Lou Correa of California. The bill aims to deter drug traffickers and strengthen the nationwide fight against fentanyl by implementing new penalties for counterfeit pill production.
According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, 42% of all overdoses in Arizona involve fentanyl, and over the last two years, there has been an increase of 1,610% in counterfeit pill seizures. Many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone or stimulants like amphetamines and are often sold on social media or e-commerce websites. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, lab testing reveals four in 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
“Arizona is in the midst of a tragic overdose crisis, and counterfeit pills from China and Mexico are driving so much of it,” Stanton said. “Drug traffickers manufacture counterfeit pills with deadly substances like methamphetamine and fentanyl, often selling the lookalikes over social media to teens and young adults.”
“In Eastern Colorado and across the nation, families, businesses, and communities continue to face hardships due to the opioid epidemic,” Buck said. “As this public health crisis continues to fester, this legislation—supported by Republicans and Democrats in both Houses of Congress— will take an important step in a multifaceted approach to crack down on dangerous counterfeit pills that are killing Americans in droves.”
The Stop Pills That Kill Act applies the existing penalties for possessing paraphernalia for manufacturing methamphetamine to the paraphernalia for making counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and methamphetamine.
The Act instructs the DEA to create an in-depth plan for stopping the rapid spread of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or methamphetamine in communities across America. It also requires the Attorney General, in conjunction with the DEA and Office of National Drug Control, to submit an annual report to Congress on the risks of pills laced with illicit drugs, along with information on efforts to raise public awareness and actions from law enforcement to combat this scourge.
The legislation is supported by the National District Attorneys Association, National Rural Health Association, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalition, National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Song for Charlie, and Victims of Illicit Drugs.
Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Dianne Feinstein of California, John Cornyn of Texas and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire have introduced companion legislation.
Full bill text can be found HERE.