May 10, 2023

Manchin Reintroduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Providing Officers with Electronic Resources Act

Legislation would provide state and local law enforcement with high-tech drug screening devices

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reintroduced the bipartisan, bicameral Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act to provide state and local law enforcement with high-tech devices to detect and identify dangerous drugs, including fentanyl. The legislation would establish a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help the law enforcement organizations secure this portable screening technology.

“In the last year, more than 106,000 Americans and 1,400 West Virginians died from drug related overdoses,” Senator Manchin said. “It’s heartbreaking to lose so many of our fellow Americans and West Virginians to this devastating epidemic, and Congress must take meaningful action to address the crisis. I’m proud to support the bipartisan, bicameral POWER Act to help ensure our state and local law enforcement authorities have what they need to detect and prevent the spread of dangerous substances, including fentanyl. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation to protect our communities and give local law enforcement the tools they need to combat the drug epidemic that continues to ravage our nation.”

The high-tech screening devices use laser technology to identify dangerous substances and are already used by federal law enforcement at U.S. ports of entry. The devices would also help address the backlog of drugs awaiting laboratory identification, which will allow law enforcement to more effectively conduct drug investigations and prosecutions and crack down on drug trafficking. Instant results would also allow officers to quickly alert local health departments when fentanyl is found in a community so they can help prevent accidental usage and overdoses.

Senator Manchin joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s work to combat the drug epidemic is available here.