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Marco Rubio, Ed Markey Take Aim at International Illicit Fentanyl Trade

March 17, 2017 - 10:00am

A resolution from U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., calling for other nations to crack down on the illicit fentanyl trade cleared the Senate without opposition this week. Rubio and Markey are both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

Rubio’s office pointed out the problems those type of drugs can pose. “Illicit fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine,” Rubio’s office noted. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl, increased by 72.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, resulting in more than 9,500 deaths in 2015.”

Rubio himself looked to the Sunshine State, noting the large number of Floridians using opioids. 

“We know lethal synthetic drugs such as fentanyl are being brought in from outside the United States, and they are increasingly contributing to the devastating opioid abuse epidemic we are facing in Florida,” Rubio said on Thursday. “In order to fully address the root causes of this epidemic destroying so many American families, our international partners must do their part to crack down on the trafficking of these deadly drugs.”

“Fentanyl is trending as the deadliest illicit opioid drug our country is facing,” said Markey. “Left unchecked, fentanyl is causing a nationwide public-health crisis of epic proportions. We must make stopping the trafficking of fentanyl into the United States from Mexico and China one of our highest foreign policy priorities. And both China and Mexico must meet their promises to combat the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids into the United States. We must use the broad diplomatic and law enforcement resources of the United States, in partnership with our international partners, to help stop fentanyl’s deadly impact.”

Markey and Rubio reeled in three co-sponsors for the resolution in U.S. Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Pat Toomey, R-Penn. 

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