Senator Roger Marshall introduces Cooper Davis act

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 9:59 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A local senator is trying to hold social media companies accountable in the fight against fentanyl distribution and overdose deaths.

On Thursday, Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) presented the Cooper Davis act to the U.S. Congress.

The bill is named after 16-year-old Cooper Davis, a Kansas City teen who died in August of 2021 when he split what he thought was a Percocet pill with his friends. That Percocet pill ended up being laced with fentanyl causing Davis’s death.

“This is poisoning,” Senator Marshall said. “These young adults are not overdosing, they’re being poisoned by something they didn’t know was fentanyl.”

It was later discovered that a drug dealer solicited Cooper through Snapchat, a popular social media platform. It’s something Cooper’s mother Libby Davis didn’t think she had to worry about her son using.

“Before Cooper passed, my husband and I -- even though we are in the medical field -- had no idea that illicit fentanyl existed, that it was coming into our country, that it was being marketed and sold on social media companies,” Davis said.

The bill would require social media companies and other communication service providers to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms.

“There’s a language that social media recognize when there is an illicit drug trafficking going on, using their own algorithms and machine learning can pick up when there is a problem,” said Senator Marshall. “So, just simply when they recognize something going on their social media, that they’re required to get ahold of local law enforcement.”

Davis said it is vital to hold big tech companies accountable for online drug deals.

“They’re providing the platform for the drug traffickers to sell and distribute these deadly drugs,” said Davis. “They need to take more responsibility and recognize that they are either an accomplice to this, or they can assist in shutting it and helping to save lives,”

Both Davis and Senator Marshall hope this legislation will help prevent another family experiencing heartbreak and grief.

Senator Marshall said he believes this legislation will land on President Biden’s desk.

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