January 16, 2020

Chairman Graham and Ranking Member Feinstein Statement on Senate Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Keep Dangerous Drugs Off the Streets

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) today made this statement following the Senate’s passage of their legislation, the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act. The measure is also cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey).

“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 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 2018 there were 32,000 fentanyl-related deaths, up 14% from an already-staggering 28,000 deaths in 2017,” said 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.”

Background:

  • The current temporary scheduling order is set to expire next month.
  • Working with Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), lead sponsor of the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act, Graham, Feinstein and Durbin reached an agreement to temporarily extend the emergency scheduling order for fentanyl analogues.
  • In June, officials testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the simplest solution to this crisis would be to codify the emergency scheduling order.