Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) on Thursday introduced legislation to provide the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the ability to criminalize the manufacturing, distribution or possession of fentanyl-like drugs. Specifically, H.R. 5771, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act will permanently list all fentanyl analog drugs as schedule I controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act.
Two years ago, the DEA temporarily scheduled fentanyl analogs as controlled substances. However, that designation expires today, February 6, 2020. Congress has passed a temporary extension that, once signed by President Trump, will continue to criminalize fentanyl analogs until May 6, 2021. By making this important designation permanent, the FIGHT Fentanyl Act will end the necessity to continue passing temporary extensions.
“The opioid crisis facing our nation and devastating American families is far too severe for temporary measures that are not guaranteed to be renewed or extended,” said Rep. Chabot. “One of the most dangerous opioids on the streets is fentanyl, with thousands of overdose deaths every year attributed to fentanyl and fentanyl-related drugs. The legislation we are introducing today will permanently provide the DEA the ability to fight the expansion and distribution of fentanyl analogs, and help to reduce overdose deaths across the country.”
“According to the most recent data from the DEA, drug overdose deaths in 2017 reached the highest record in our history and were the leading cause of injury death in our country,” said Rep. Latta. “Fentanyl is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. This powerful drug is highly addictive and is being abused not just in Ohio, but in every state in our country. If we do not take action to stop the spread of fentanyl in our communities, we will continue to see thousands of Americans lose their lives for years to come. While I am proud of the work Congress has already accomplished to combat drug abuse, the FIGHT Fentanyl Act takes our work to the next level by permanently listing fentanyl as a schedule I controlled substance so that we can better prevent fentanyl from destroying and taking American lives.”
A companion to the House legislation (S. 2701) was introduced in the Senate on October 24, 2019 by Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).