(MINEOLA, N.Y.) – Today, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee unanimously advanced Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D – N.Y.) Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a measure which would declare international fentanyl trafficking a national emergency and empower authorities to seize the assets of major traffickers, among other measures.
Following today’s action, Nassau County Legislators Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove), Arnold W. Drucker (D – Plainview) and Debra Mulé (D – Freeport), sponsors of Nassau County’s “Families Against Fentanyl” law, issued the following statement:
“It is sickening how fentanyl traffickers continue to profit by peddling deadly poison to our communities and our children. Senator Gillibrand’s FEND Off Fentanyl Act will strengthen ongoing efforts to keep this deadly, highly addictive drug out of our nation and empower law enforcement to seize the ill-begotten gains being made at the expense of sick and suffering addicts,” Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove) said.
“We applaud Senator Gillibrand for her diligent efforts to foster bipartisan agreement on this crucial legislation. However, there are steps we must take right now in Nassau County to confront the fact that more than 70 percent of overdose deaths in 2021 were caused by fentanyl – a drug that cannot be detected by taste, smell or sight,” Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D – Plainview) said.
“Because detecting fentanyl before it is consumed is the most effective way to prevent tragic overdoses, we introduced the ‘Families Against Fentanyl’ law, a measure which would require fentanyl detecting test strips to be bundled with any Narcan kit the County gives out. It would furthermore authorize the Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities to provide strips upon request directly to residents,” Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D – Freeport) said.
“We urge the Presiding Officer and the Legislative Majority to join us in supporting a cost-effective and common-sense proposal that will equip the public with yet another tool that can potentially spare families from the agony of losing a loved one to an accidental overdose,” they concluded. Corinne Kaufman’s granddaughter Paige Gibbons died on Nov. 20, 2022 – just four days after her 19th birthday – after consuming a small piece of what she thought was a Percocet pill at a sleepover with friends. It turned out to be entirely fentanyl, and she died later that night.
“Yesterday marked seven months since the loss of my first grandchild, Paige Grace Gibbons, at just 19 years old. Hers was a life full of promise, goals and future successes cut short by fentanyl poisoning,” Kaufman said. “We as a community of grieving families welcome any bill that will help in stopping this drug and raising awareness. It was uplifting to hear about Senator Gillibrand’s introduction of a bill to fight fentanyl poisoning. It will provide ammunition in the fight against this terrible plague.”
“In two days, our second granddaughter will graduate high school. I will worry about her as we send her off to college and independence. We all need to make our children aware of these dangers,” Kaufman continued. “There can be no letup on raising awareness, providing education and now with this bill, the pursuit of the people poisoning our children. Everything we do towards this cause can help. It is my hope that our County Legislature can work towards including fentanyl detection strips in a Narcan kits as soon as possible.”