Sen. Sherrod Brown last week called for Senate passage of his bill to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection with new technology to detect fentanyl before it enters the United States.
Brown, D-Ohio, was moved to reiterate his concerns after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing Ohio had the second highest death rate by drug overdose in the U.S in 2016. The CDC data reveals Ohio’s age-adjusted drug overdose death rate was 39.1 per 100,000 in 2016, second only to West Virginia. Many of the drug-related deaths were caused by the rise in fentanyl use, according to the report.
In a statement, Brown said the report confirmed that the opioid epidemic is “devastating” Ohio communities. “Law enforcement officers need every tool available to keep fentanyl out of the country and off of Ohio streets,” he said.
Brown’s bill is cosponsored by fellow Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Brown, meanwhile, has backed a similar bill by Portman aimed at fighting the influx of fentanyl into Ohio.
Brown’s bill would authorize $15 million for hundreds of new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.