WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Lance Gooden (R-TX) introduced the Justice Against Sponsors of Illicit Fentanyl Act. This companion legislation to U.S. Sen. John Thune's (R-S.D.) February Senate bill aims at providing victims of fentanyl abuse the opportunity to bring civil claims against nations that enable the flood of fentanyl into the United States.

"This legislation is a vital step toward holding nations accountable for their role in enabling the trafficking of fentanyl into our country," said Rep. Gooden. "By providing victims and their families the ability to bring suit against foreign actors, we are sending a clear message that the United States will not tolerate any nation that contributes to this devastating drug crisis."

“Drug trafficking across the southern border doesn’t just affect border states – it affects communities around our country,” said Thune. “I continue to hear from South Dakota law enforcement officials who tell me that they’re seizing drugs that they can trace directly back to the cartels who smuggle them across the border. It’s a serious national security threat, and this bill would establish new legal consequences for those who enable fentanyl trafficking and precursor chemicals while creating a pathway to justice for their victims. I appreciate Rep. Gooden taking up this effort in the House to help address this growing crisis.”

Bill Summary:
  • Empowers civil litigants to seek relief against persons, entities, and foreign countries that provide material support to foreign organizations involved in fentanyl trafficking.
  • Removes certain immunity protections for foreign nations that assist or permit fentanyl trafficking beyond negligence.
  • In 2021, Texas authorities seized enough fentanyl to kill 200 million people.
  • Overdose deaths remain a leading cause of injury-related fatalities in the United States, with fentanyl-related deaths being the primary cause among adults aged 19 to 45.
  • Fentanyl has caused approximately two-thirds of over 107,000 fatal overdoses in the United States.
  • Last year, Congressman Gooden sent a letter to President Biden requesting his administration designate fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Chinese imports, channeled through border cartels, constitute the primary source of fentanyl entering the United States.

Read the full text of this legislation here.