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Kustoff Introduces Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic

July 26, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. –  July 26, 2018 – U.S. Representative David Kustoff (TN-08) today introduced H.R. 6554, the Substance Tableting and Encapsulating Enforcement and Registration (STEER) Act to combat the rampant national opioid epidemic. 

The STEER Act is a bipartisan, bicameral bill, which requires official registration with the Attorney General for any person in possession of a tableting or encapsulating machine, also known as pill presses, to prevent the use of these machines to create and distribute narcotics.

In 2016, approximately 1,200 people died from an opioid overdose in Tennessee. These numbers in Tennessee and across the country continue to rise at an alarming rate each year.
Congressman Kustoff said: “We must remain on the frontlines of combating the opioid epidemic. Pill presses play a huge role in the spread of opioids by providing an easy pathway for these narcotics to infiltrate our communities without detection. The opioid death rate is now at an all-time high, and it is more important than ever to provide solutions to bring this national crisis to an end.  The STEER Act proposes real, tangible steps to help authorities keep track of these machines and crack down on the production of illicit drugs.

“Many thanks to Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH) for working alongside me as an original cosponsor of this important legislation. I also appreciate the support of my colleagues, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), for introducing a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.  The opioid crisis transcends party lines, and together we can bring an end to this epidemic once and for all.”

Congresswoman Kuster said: “The spread of synthetic opioids has accelerated an already deadly epidemic. Knockoff opioids often contain dangerous synthetics such as fentanyl or carfentanil, which simply put, will kill unwitting individuals suffering from substance use disorder. It’s critical that we get unregistered pill presses off the street and hold drug dealers and bad actors responsible for pushing these counterfeit drugs.”

S. 3281 has been introduced as a companion bill by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

Sen. Cassidy said: “We can save lives by getting black-market opioid pills off the streets. We’ve seen fake pills show up in New Orleans, Shreveport, and Natchitoches. This legislation will help law enforcement identify counterfeit pill makers and shut them down, leading to safer families and healthier communities.”

Sen. Hassan said: “As part of our efforts to combat the opioid crisis it is critical that we do everything that we can to prevent the production of counterfeit drugs that help fuel the tide of addiction. The bipartisan STEER Act requires anyone who owns tableting or encapsulating machines, which are used to manufacture pills, to register them with the DEA to ensure that the machines are not used for illicit purposes. Members from both parties –  and President Trump’s own opioid commission – agree on the importance of regulating these machines, and I hope that we can move this bill forward with the urgency needed to match the severity of this epidemic.”