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Ossoff introduces bill targeting fentanyl trafficking

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(The Center Square) — A U.S. senator from Georgia is introducing legislation to crack down on fentanyl trafficking.

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, announced the Fentanyl Trafficking Prevention Act, which could slap social media companies with criminal penalties of up to $10 million for facilitating the illicit distribution or dispensing of cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids and synthetic opioids. According to a news release from Ossoff’s office, these actions already run afoul of service providers’ terms of service.

“The bill does not authorize any new spending,” an Ossoff spokesperson emailed The Center Square when asked how much this proposal might cost.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, from 2019 to 2021, opioid-related overdose deaths in the state increased 101% — from 853 to 1,718. The agency said fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often found in cocaine, heroin, and counterfeit pills, drove the increase.

Of the 2,390 drug overdose deaths in Georgia in 2021, nearly three-quarters (71%) were attributed to opioids, and more than half (57%) were attributed to fentanyl.

“Deaths and addiction from fentanyl and other opioids are devastating families in Georgia and nationwide,” Ossoff said in an announcement. “My Fentanyl Trafficking Prevention Act will hold social media companies accountable for recklessly facilitating the sale and distribution of these lethal drugs.”

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