Markey’s law provides U.S. Customs and Border Protection the latest in chemical screening devices and scientific support to detect and intercept fentanyl and other synthetic opioids at the border


Washington (January 10, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) attended a bill signing ceremony at the White House today for the INTERDICT Act, which he introduced in the Senate in March 2017. The bipartisan legislation that the President signed into law will help stop the flow of the illicit opioid fentanyl across the U.S. border by equipping U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with hi-tech scanning devices and other technologies to detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Mexico is the primary source for illicit fentanyl trafficked into the United States, while distributors in China are the principal source of the precursor chemicals used to manufacture the drug, as well as a source for finished-product illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, which are often shipped to the United States through the mail and express consignment carriers. Companion legislation introduced by Representatives Niki Tsongas (MA-03) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 412 to 3 in October, and passed the Senate by unanimous consent in December.


In data released last month week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 42,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2016, with nearly half being directly attributed to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.


“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,” said Senator Markey. “I thank Senators Rubio, Brown and Capito for their partnership on this legislation in the Senate, Representatives Nikki Tsongas and Brian Fitzpatrick for their leadership on the companion bill in the House, and President Trump for signing the bill into law.”


Specifically, the INTERDICT Act:

  • Ensures that CBP will have additional portable chemical screening devices available at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities, and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories
  • Provides CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities – including scientists available during all operational hours – to interpret screening test results from the field
  • Authorizes – based on CBP guidance – the appropriation of $9 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for support during all operational hours