Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and House Judiciary Committee Republican Leader Jim Jordan (R-OH) are leading legislation that will continue to keep fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. In addition, the Leaders are calling on Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans to make this move permanent.
“Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and just a few milligrams can be lethal. If Congress doesn’t extend the fentanyl analogues ban by May 6, these extremely lethal drugs coming from China and also across our southern border will essentially become street legal,” the Leaders said. “We need to take swift action to extend the emergency scheduling order and give law enforcement the tools they need to keep Americans safe, especially as the pandemic has made the opioid epidemic worse.”
“Lives are on the line if action isn’t taken. Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats waited until the 11th hour last year to make this extension. It must be a priority for that mistake not to be made again.”
NOTE: The largest single source of these substances are Chinese chemical companies. To crack down on China and drug traffickers smuggling fentanyl across our southern border, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) created a temporary scheduling system for fentanyl. Previously, drug traffickers could slightly change the molecules in the drug, so the formula was not considered prohibited. With this scheduling tool, the DEA changed the scheduling temporarily in order to combat all “fentanyl-related substances.”
The DEA instituted a ban on fentanyl-related substances in 2018 for two years but it was left to Congress to determine whether or not to extend the scheduling order beyond the 2020 deadline. In 2020, Congress renewed the extension to allow these substances to remain scheduled. On May 6, 2021, the extension will end. Leaders Rodgers and Jordan are asking all of their colleagues to join them in again granting an extension while work is done to come to a bipartisan solution and finally schedule these chemicals permanently.
Fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances have caused a massive scourge in communities across our country. Tens of thousands are left dead from overdoses every year. Between May 2019 and the May 2020, over 44,000 people lost their lives due to illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances.
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