(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06) and former Republican Study Committee Chairman, Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), have introduced the Standardizing Thresholds Of Penalties for (STOP) Fentanyl Act, a bill to reduce the threshold for mandatory minimum penalties for fentanyl-related offenses, putting it on par with quantity thresholds for another deadly drug, methamphetamine.
Grothman and Banks are joined by 20 cosponsors, including Congressman Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Rick Allen (GA-12), Congressman Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05), Congressman Pat Fallon (TX-04), Congressman Bill Posey (FL-08), Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Ryan Zinke (MT-01), Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-04), Congressman Burgess Owens (UT-04), Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07), Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Congressman Jim Baird (IN-04), Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Congressman Russell Fry (SC-07), and Congressman Scott DesJarlais (TN-04).
Currently, to trigger a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence under the Controlled Substances Act, an offense must involve 400 or more grams of a mixture or substance containing fentanyl. Because the average lethal dose of fentanyl is 2 milligrams, the offense would need to contain roughly 200,000 lethal doses in order to trigger the 10-year mandatory minimum.
By comparison, to trigger the 10-year mandatory minimum for methamphetamine, the offense would have to involve at least 500 grams, which contains roughly 2,500 lethal doses.
“We recently surpassed 100,000 drug overdose deaths within 12 months for the first time in American history, largely driven by the use of fentanyl,” said Grothman. “This is a large-scale epidemic in need of immediate attention.
“The lack of leadership from the White House concerning the border is encouraging drug traffickers to profit from the Administration’s open border policies. Border Patrol agents have told me that the cartels intentionally overflow certain areas of the Southern border, diverting resources, and creating vulnerable spots in other areas along the border that would otherwise be guarded. If the Biden Administration adequately supported Border Patrol, these agents would be more prepared to detect and confiscate the copious amount of fentanyl entering our country.
“It is an ongoing tragedy that Americans are paying the price of bad immigration policy in tens of thousands of human lives. This bill will bring a sorely-needed increase to the penalty of trafficking deadly fentanyl.”
“Fentanyl is impacting every family and community in America. This legislation will help ensure the criminals selling and trafficking this extremely potent drug are held accountable,” said Congressman Banks.
Current mandatory minimum penalties for fentanyl-related offenses are not sufficient because they are not proportionate to the drug’s public health hazard. For example, fentanyl is 50 times more deadly than heroine, but, shockingly, fentanyl offenders often receive more lenient sentences than purveyors of other drugs, like methamphetamine, for trafficking the same amount of lethal doses. This inconsistency has been underscored by the fact that a record 379 million lethal doses of deadly fentanyl was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2022, more than enough to kill every American.
Fentanyl is officially the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49.
The STOP Fentanyl Act corrects the discrepancy between fentanyl and other drugs by reducing the threshold for mandatory minimum penalties for fentanyl-related offenses. Specifically, the bill:
- Amends the Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to reduce the 10-year mandatory minimum threshold for fentanyl offenses from 400 grams to 5 grams and fentanyl analogue offenses from 10 grams to 0.05 grams;
- Amends the Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to reduce the 5-year mandatory minimum threshold for fentanyl offenses from 40 grams to 0.5 grams and fentanyl analogue offenses from 10 grams to 0.005 grams;
- Clarifies that fentanyl analogues can include both scheduled and unscheduled.
In addition, to address the flow of fentanyl coming through the Southern border, the bill amends the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to create a mandatory minimum of 20 years imprisonment for importing any amount of fentanyl and its analogues specifically across the Southern border with Mexico.