Senator has introduced bipartisan legislation to elevate illicit fentanyl trafficking as a foreign policy priority


Boston (December 21, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on opioid overdose deaths in 2015. More than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2015, and 33,091, or 63 percent, involved an opioid. Death rates involving heroin have increased 20 percent from 2014 to 2015. Massachusetts ranks 2nd, per capita, in synthetic opioid deaths, which include fentanyl, with the number of deaths between 2014 and 2015 increasing by 109 percent.


“Fentanyl is trending as the deadliest illicit opioid drug our country is facing,” said Senator Markey. “Left unchecked, fentanyl threatens to cause a nationwide public-health crisis of epic proportions. Massachusetts is near the top of the list of states suffering fentanyl overdose deaths, but much of the rest of the country doesn’t appreciate the threat that fentanyl is posing to the American people. We must educate the public about the existence of illicit fentanyl and the harm it can do. We need to make sure that China and Mexico are living up to their promises to combat the flow of this deadly drug and other synthetic opioids into the United States. And we must develop a national strategy that includes collaboration with our international partners to help stop fentanyl’s deadly impact.”


Senators Markey and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced a Senate resolution calling for international cooperation to address the trafficking of illicit fentanyl into the United States. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a nationwide alert on illicit fentanyl as a threat to public health and safety.