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Gillibrand backs law that will crack down on illegal fentanyl

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

International fentanyl trafficking will be declared a national emergency due to the passage of a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is more powerful than heroin and kills hundreds of Long Islanders every year.

The law will give the federal government broad powers to punish international drug cartels and sanction the drug’s makers and distributors. 

Gillibrand called the proliferation of illegal fentanyl a public health and safety issue at a news conference this week.

“[The law] will declare that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency and require President Biden to sanction key members of the transnational criminal organizations.”

Most illiegal fentanyl is manufactured in Mexico using chemicals produced in China, then distributed in communities throughout the U.S.

Gillibrand said the law will help the Drug Enforcement Agency stop fentanyl production, and let the Treasury Department seize assets from laundered drug money.

Congress has passed the bill and it now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature.

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Born and raised in Connecticut, Desiree now calls Long Island home. She is WSHU’s 2019-2020 News Fellow, covering local government, the environment and public affairs on Long Island. She received her A.A. in Communications from Nassau Community College and B.A. in Journalism from Stony Brook University. Her past internships were at the Long Island Press and WSHU. In 2019, she co-wrote a four-part series about the Long Island Pine Barrens, bringing to listeners the sights and sounds of this unique ecosystem nestled in the heart of Suffolk County. There are 300 tabs open across her devices at all times.