January 16, 2020

Feinstein, Graham, Durbin, Colleagues Pass Bill to Keep Fentanyl-Related Substances Schedule I

Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today applauded Senate passage of the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act, legislation they authored to extend the Drug Enforcement Agency’s temporary order making fentanyl-related substances Schedule I, a designation reserved for substances that have no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

            “In 2018 there were 32,000 fentanyl-related deaths, up 14% from an already-staggering 28,000 deaths in 2017,” said Senator Feinstein. “This is a crisis, plain and simple. DEA’s temporary order making fentanyl-related substances a Schedule I substance has shown success, with the supply of new fentanyl analogues down by 75 percent. This bill isn’t a permanent solution, but I’m confident it will give us time to find a commonsense, bipartisan pathway to develop meaningful solutions to the overdose crisis.”

            “It’s very important that we continue to keep fentanyl analogues listed as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. I am very pleased to have reached an agreement with Senators Feinstein, Durbin and Johnson on this legislation. It will prevent fentanyl analogues from being removed from the Schedule I dangerous drug list for 15 months. I hope in the coming days we can reach an agreement that will allow fentanyl analogues to be listed as a Schedule I drug permanently,” said Senator Graham. “I also appreciate China’s recent efforts to deal with the fentanyl supply coming from China, as fentanyl has been proven to be one of the dangerous drugs known to man. There were over 30,000 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2018 alone. Fentanyl is 100 times more lethal than morphine, and 50 times more lethal than heroin. I urge my colleagues in the House to swiftly pass this legislation so we can get it signed into law.”

            In addition to Feinstein, Graham and Durbin, the bill is also sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Background:

  • The Controlled Substances Act gives DEA the authority to control drugs under one of five classifications, known as schedules. Drugs controlled under Schedule I are the most restricted in terms of access, manufacture and use.
  • The DEA issued a temporary order on February 2018 to categorize fentanyl and fentanyl analogues as Schedule I drugs. That order expires on February 6, 2020.
  • The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office to produce a report within 12 months on the public health and safety effects of controlling fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I.

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