POWER Act will provide portable chemical screening devices for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement organizations. 

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has joined in introducing bipartisan legislation, Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act (S.2853),  to help state and local law enforcement acquire high-tech devices to detect and identify dangerous drugs like fentanyl.

The POWER Act creates a new U.S. Department of Justice grant program to support the procurement of high-tech, portable chemical screening devices for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement organizations.

“Fentanyl has worsened the terrible effects of the opioid crisis on our nation in terms of overdoses, deaths, and crime,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Giving law enforcement the technology to detect illicit drugs, like fentanyl, would provide the information needed to handle overdose cases, to combat trafficking more efficiently, and to protect officers from exposure to toxic drugs.”

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths reported in 2018, 4.1% fewer deaths than in 2017 in the U.S.

  • The age-adjusted rate declined by 4.6% to 20.7 per 100,000 standard population.1 The decline follows an increasing trend in the rate from 6.1 in 1999 to 21.7 in 2017.
  • Opioids were involved in 46,802 (a rate of 14.6) overdose deaths in 2018—nearly 70% of all overdose deaths.
  • Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (including fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) continued to rise with more than 28,400 (a rate of 9.9) overdose deaths in 2018.
  • The number of deaths involving prescription opioids declined to 14,975 (a rate of 4.6) in 2018 and those involving heroin dropped to 14,996 (a rate of 4.7).

In Mississippi nearly 60% of the 310 drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved opioids, a total of 173 fatalities.

In a report conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in a 2013-14 survey around 65,000 people age 12 or older were dependent on or abused illicit drugs within the year prior to being surveyed in Mississippi.

On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued its first Public Safety Alert since 2015 to warn of the alarming increase in the lethality and availability of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The POWER Act is supported by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, National HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Directors Association, National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies, National Tactical Officers Association, and many other organizations.