Senator Markey Leads Senate Letter Calling on Secretary Tillerson to Work with United Nations to Take Action on Illicit Fentanyl

Between 2014 and 2015, overdose deaths in the United States from synthetic opioids, principally illicit fentanyl, increased 72 percent

Washington (March 8, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter with nine other senators calling on Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to use the upcoming 60th Session of the United Nation Commission on Drugs to call on the 53 member states to support strong action on the precursor chemicals of illicit fentanyl. The two precursor chemicals — 4-anilino-N-phenethylpiperidine (ANPP) and N-phenethyl-4-piperidone (NPP) — are required for the manufacture of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine. In the letter the senators argue that scheduling ANPP and NPP under the 1988 U.N. Convention would be consistent with the recommendations of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board, which found that the use of ANPP and NPP in the manufacture of illicit fentanyl poses such “serious public health or social problems . . . as to warrant international action.” If agreed to, countries would be bound to notify competent authorities as soon as possible if there is reason to believe that the import, export, or transit of either precursor is destined for the illicit manufacture of fentanyl.

"At your confirmation hearing, you spoke of using an inter-agency approach to combatting the fentanyl epidemic and employing the tools and mechanisms available to the United States to disrupt the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States,” write the senators in the letter to Secretary Tillerson. “Showing leadership before the Commission on Narcotic Drugs on this issue would put those words into action.  Strong U.S. leadership on this issue can help the United Nations play a more effective role in combatting the threat that illicit fentanyl poses to our country.”

 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

 

Other senators signing the letter include Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Joe Manchin III (D-W.V.).