Hoeven: President Signs into Law Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Abuse with Provisions Hoeven Advanced to Prevent Sale & Shipment of Illicit Synthetic Drugs

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed into law comprehensive legislation to combat the opioid abuse crisis that includes provisions the senator cosponsored to prevent the sale and shipment of illicit synthetic drugs like fentanyl. 

“We appreciate the President signing into law this legislation to help combat opioid abuse and provide additional tools to help families and communities impacted by addiction. This legislation is comprehensive and supports prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement efforts. Additionally, the legislation includes provisions we worked to advance to prevent the sale and shipment of dangerous drugs like fentanyl.”

Hoeven worked to include language in the legislation that aligns with the goals of his Illegal Synthetic Drug Safety Act, which closes a loophole that enables bad actors to circumvent the law to sell and distribute illicit synthetic variations of drugs, like the powerful drug fentanyl, by labeling the products as “not for human consumption.” The language derives from the Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act, of which Hoeven is a cosponsor, and which was included in the bill signed into law today.

The senator also cosponsored the Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which is included in this legislation. This provision requires shipments from foreign countries sent through the U.S. Postal Service to provide electronic data. This will empower Customs and Border Protection to better target potential illegal substances like fentanyl and prevent it from being shipped into the country.

Additionally, the legislation signed into law today:

  • Reauthorizes state grants authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, with a five percent set-aside for tribes. 
  • Reauthorizes the following programs through 2023: the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program, the Department of Justice Drug Court Program and the Drug Free Communities Program.
  • Funds training for staff at Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics on dispensing medications for treatment of an opioid use disorder.
  • Increases flexibility for the National Institutes of Health to research non-addictive pain medication. 
  • Provides treatment and recovery support services for individuals with a substance use disorder.
  • Allows for 6-year loan repayment agreements with substance use disorder treatment professionals that work in mental health professional shortage areas or counties that have been hardest hit by drug overdose.
  • Increases access to medication-assisted treatment.