Representatives Urge House Leaders to Prioritize Fentanyl Scheduling Legislation

In response to annual overdose deaths in the United States in 2021 reaching over 100,000, Representatives Chris Pappas (NH-01), Ted Budd (NC-13), and Tony Gonzales (TX-23) sent a letter to House leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Kevin McCarthy urging them to call for a vote on the Save Americans from the Fentanyl Emergency (SAFE) Act of 2022 and the Dark Web Interdiction Act of 2022 before the deadline for temporary scheduling expires on December 31, 2022. The SAFE Act of 2022 will amend the Controlled Substances Act to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances that are not already exempted as a Schedule I drug, require that the Attorney General publish a list of fentanyl-related substances, allow the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct research on fentanyl-related substances, and require that the Government Accountability Office publish a report on the effects of permanently scheduling fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I. The Dark Web Interdiction Act would direct the Sentencing Commission to increase penalties for trafficking illegal drugs through the dark web, make the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) task force permanent, and require that the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury publish a report on the use of virtual currency for opioid trafficking. In their letter, the lawmakers called on the leaders to pass the legislation, noting “The SAFE Act and the Dark Web Interdiction Act will ensure law enforcement retains the tools they need to combat drug trafficking, help remove deadly substances, and keep communities safe.” A copy of the letter can be found here.

Articles & Resources

Congressman Chris Pappas – Pappas, Budd, Gonzales Call for a Vote on Bipartisan Fentanyl Legislation

Bill Introduced to Address Fentanyl Trafficking

Last week, Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04) introduced the Homeland Security Fentanyl Enforcement Act. Currently, the majority of Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit agents are responsible for investigating transnational crime and rely on Drug Enforcement Administration agents to investigate any drug-related crimes. Approximately 1,500 of more than 6,800 HSI agents have authority to investigate drug-related crimes, and the bill would expand drug investigation and enforcement authorities to all the agents within the HIS unit. In a statement, Representative Smith said, “Now more than ever, we must renew and strengthen our fight against the scourge of opioids that has claimed far too many lives and devastated so many families.”

Articles & Resources

Congressman Chris Smith – Smith pushes new legislation to combat deadly fentanyl pouring across US border

What We Read Last Week

Several articles were published last week pertaining to the opioid epidemic, covering a variety of different components of the topic. Links to relevant articles are provided below.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur – Kaptur Announces $1M Federal Grant to Combat Opioid Epidemic in Erie County

CUNY SPH – CUNY SPH and Yale researchers awarded $1.1 million to implement new opioid intervention platform

FDA – Food and Drug Administration Overdose Prevention Framework

FDA – Timeline of Selected FDA Activities and Significant Events Addressing Opioid Misuse and Abuse

JAMA – The Supreme Court Decision on Federal Prescribing Rules for Controlled Substances

Representative Kevin McCarthy – One Pill Can Kill

Representative Sharice Davids – Following Summit with Law Enforcement, Davids Takes Several Actions Against Growing Threat of Fentanyl

This Week’s Calendar

In the week ahead, there are no relevant events or hearings noticed at this time. In the event that there are any changes to the schedule for this week, we will make additional information available.

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