WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced the bipartisan Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act to permanently schedule illicitly manufactured and deadly fentanyl. In February 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a temporary scheduling order to schedule fentanyl-related substances that has allowed federal law enforcement authorities to bring criminal actions against individuals who manufacture, distribute, or handle fentanyl-related substances. This scheduling order is set to expire on February 6, 2020. The FIGHT Fentanyl Act codifies DEA precedent to permanently schedule fentanyl-related substances.
Overdose deaths across the country due to fentanyl-related substances continue to rise affecting communities all across the country. In December 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that overdose deaths due to fentanyl had increased at a rate of 88 percent per year since 2013. Fentanyl-related substances are responsible for the largest component of opioids overdose deaths.
“Fentanyl has hit Ohio communities particularly hard. In 2017 alone, we had a record 3,523 overdose deaths attributable to fentanyl-related substances,” said Senator Portman. “This deadly, synthetic drug knows no zip code and is devastating individuals and families all across the country. This bipartisan legislation is vital to our efforts to keep fentanyl out of our communities, and I urge my colleagues to join Senator Manchin and I in passing this common-sense legislation.”
“There is no question that West Virginia has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, with fentanyl now making up a majority of overdose deaths. West Virginia has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation, and the impacts of this epidemic can be felt in every family, every community and every part of our state. We need all of the help we can get to make sure fentanyl isn’t distributed to West Virginians struggling with addiction. I am proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, so that we can keep fentanyl out of our communities” said Senator Manchin.