House committee passes Joyce’s bill protecting border security personnel from toxic drugs

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH) to protect Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel when handling illicit drugs on May 19 has been advanced by the Homeland Security Committee of the United States House.

“I thank my House Homeland Security Committee colleagues for passing this important legislation,” Rep. Joyce said, “and urge leaders to put it to a vote so we can protect our CBP officers as they work. to defend and maintain our borders.

Rep. Joyce introduced the Prevention of Narcotic and Toxic Exposure Act of 2021, HR 5274, also known as the PREVENT Act, in September 2021 with original lead co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), to train CBP personnel on the use of containment devices to prevent secondary exposure to fentanyl and other life-threatening substances, according to the text of the bill.

“Tragically, as the crisis on the southern border continues to spiral out of control, so does the flow of deadly drugs into our country,” Rep. Joyce said. “In fiscal year 2021 alone, more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized in failed attempts to smuggle it across the US-Mexico border.”

The congressman said it’s critical that the federal government provide its CBP officers with the tools and training to do their jobs as safely as possible “in the midst of this record increase in drug trafficking.” The PREVENT Act would do just that.

If enacted, HR 5274 would specifically require the CBP commissioner to issue containment devices to CBP personnel and provide training on their use, according to a summary of the bill provided by Rep. Joyce’s staff.

These containment devices are an important tool that provides secondary protection beyond personal protective equipment by creating a controlled negative pressure environment to further reduce exposure to hazardous substances, the summary states, and the devices also preserve better chemicals for forensic analysis and improve efficiency. of surveys.

HR 5274 is being considered by the US House Ways and Means Committee, which must take action on the bill before it can go to the full chamber for a vote.

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