Skip to content

Kaine & Cruz Introduce STOP TRANQ Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today filed the Strengthening Tracking Of Poisonous Tranq Requiring Analyzed National Quantification Act, otherwise known as the STOP TRANQ Act.

The STOP TRANQ Act would add a statutory requirement for the State Department to include reporting on xylazine, or “tranq,” in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), a country-by-country report that tracks efforts to counter all aspects of the international drug trade. Currently, the report tracks fentanyl and other well-known illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin. It also covers the illicit trafficking of more common pharmaceuticals with abuse risk, such as pseudoepinephrine (Sudafed). Requiring the State Department to actively report on this emerging threat would ensure that the United States is better prepared to counter and respond to trends in the international drug trade contributing to America’s drug crisis.

Sen. Kaine said, “I’m fully committed to addressing the fentanyl crisis, and we should use all tools at our disposal to do so. I’m glad my bipartisan legislation to bolster DOD’s role in countering fentanyl trafficking was signed into law by President Biden last year. But there’s more work to do to keep Americans safe, including protecting our communities from xylazine, which is often mixed with fentanyl to create a more deadly drug. I’m glad to partner with Senator Cruz on this bipartisan bill. It is a commonsense step to address the threat posed by xylazine, and I urge my colleagues to join us in getting it across the finish line.”

Sen. Cruz said, “Tranq is claiming Texan lives, and lives all across our great nation. I was proud to collaborate with Senator Welch to pass the TRANQ Research Act into law last year to combat the threat of this deadly street drug, and I am grateful to Senator Kaine for joining me in committing our State Department resources to fighting the harrowing drug crisis plaguing our nation. The U.S. must use all its counternarcotics tools to combat the threat posed by tranq, especially given its alarming presence in America’s fentanyl drug crisis. This means mobilizing our resources at the State Department, like the INCSR report, to hold other countries accountable for their role in producing, selling, and moving tranq into the U.S.”

Tranq is a powerful sedative that is increasingly used as an additive to fentanyl. The effects of tranq are devastating, causing “necrotic” skin alterations and resulting in over 3,000 overdose deaths in 2021. Tranq has especially affected the American South, which saw a 200 percent increase in the drug’s presence from 2020 to 2021—the largest increase in the country. Because xylazine is not an opioid, Narcan is not effective in reversing its effects—making fentanyl-mixed xylazine even more dangerous. The White House designated fentanyl-mixed xylazine as an “emerging threat” early last year and released a National Response Plan in an attempt to address this growing problem.

Last year, Congress passed the bipartisan Cruz-Welch Testing, Rapid Analysis, and Narcotic Quality (TRANQ) Research Act, and President Biden signed it into law on December 19, 2023. Last year, Congress also passed significant portions of the bipartisan Kaine-Ernst Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Act to direct increased federal attention to fentanyl trafficking, by utilizing Pentagon tools like counter-drug intelligence and involving Mexico as an active partner to combat the crisis and disrupt cartel activity in Mexico. President Biden signed it into law on December 22, 2023. Kaine is also a cosponsor of the Combating Illicit Xylazine Act, legislation to help save lives and address the fentanyl crisis by designating xylazine as a Schedule III Controlled Substance.

The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN).

Read the full text of the bill here.