Trump signs bill to enhance opioid screening technology at border

Trump signs bill to enhance opioid screening technology at border

Even President Donald Trump has taken notice of the opioid crisis that plagues Kankakee County.

US President Donald Trump signed the International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology, orINTERDICT Act [text, PDF], on Wednesday, with the goal of affording border protection agents enhanced opioid screening technology.

The bill, the INTERDICT Act, approves $9 million in federal funding for screening devices that can identify a substance like fentanyl in the field at ports of entry and to help staff use them.

The State Department has concluded that "Mexico is a major source and transit country for heroin, marijuana, and synthetic drugs destined for the United States and a main transit country for cocaine from South America. Strengthening US-Mexico border enforcement will assist Iowa's efforts to combat opioid abuse." .

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Trump said that the new bill is "a significant step forward" in the fight against fentanyl, a substance which, according to him, is so unsafe that it has killed police sniffing dogs.

The president was joined at the bill signing ceremony by members of Congress and health care practitioners.

It is not clear if there are any recent known cases of sniffer dogs dying from drug-related deaths, but there have been several instances where K-9s have overdosed on powerful opioids.

Kankakee County reported 56 overdose deaths in 2017, the most since the coroner's office began tracking overdose deaths in 2010. In comparison, nearby Will County had 104 overdose deaths, but only 15 per 100,000 population as Will County has almost six times more residents than Kankakee County. The state lost 4,329 residents to drug overdoses in 2016, a 24 percent increase over the previous year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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