Padilla Introduces Legislation to Protect Border Patrol Agents from Exposure to Dangerous Drugs￼
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in introducing the Prevent Exposure to Narcotics and Toxins (PREVENT) Act of 2022, which will provide drug containment devices and training on their proper use to frontline border patrol agents.
Last year, more than 108,000 Americans lost their lives to an opioid overdose. As record levels of fentanyl enter the United States through the border and ports of entry, Border Protection and other federal law enforcement agents have been tasked with the monumental challenge of intercepting these drugs before they enter our communities. This work is particularly dangerous because of the risk of first responders being accidentally exposed to narcotics and toxins.
“No one should be faced with involuntary and harmful exposure to dangerous drugs while on the job,” said Senator Padilla. “This critical legislation will properly equip frontline agents with drug containment devices as they work to prevent fentanyl and other drugs from entering our communities. By ensuring their safety, we will equip agents with the tools they need to more effectively prevent illegal drugs from entering our country.”
“Border patrol officers are on the frontlines of our efforts to combat illegal and dangerous drugs at our southern border,” said Senator Brown. “Following our success in securing new screening devices for federal law enforcement agents, we need to do more to protect border patrol agents from these dangerous drugs during transit.”
As the first ever Latino to chair the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, Senator Padilla is leading the fight for immigration reform. Padilla is an original cosponsor of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, legislation to overhaul the American immigration system, restore fairness and humanity to the system, strengthen families, boost our economy, and open a pathway to citizenship for millions. Padilla also advocated for a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the construction of a new land port of entry and related transportation infrastructure along the California-Mexico border.
The PREVENT Act:
- Directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Secretary and the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection to purchase containment devices, a critical tool in safely storing illicit narcotics, for all frontline border patrol agents and provide training for their effective use.
- Trains officers on how to use containment devices to prevent potential synthetic opioid exposure.
The PREVENT Act is supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Full text of the bill is available here.