Supporting the Permanent Scheduling of Fentanyl-Related Substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act

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Supporting the Permanent Scheduling of Fentanyl-Related Substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act

Resolution

WHEREAS, the United States is in the midst of an opioid public health crisis; and

WHEREAS, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 70,237 lethal drug overdoses in 2017; and

WHEREAS, opioid overdose deaths surged to 47,600 in 2017, which account for 67.8% of all drug overdose deaths in 2017; and

WHEREAS, from 2016 to 2017, synthetic opioid–involved overdose death rates increased 45.2%; and

WHEREAS, from 2013 to 2017, drug overdose death rates increased in 35 of 50 states and the District of Columbia, and significant increases in death rates involving synthetic opioids occurred in 15 of 20 states, driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances; and

WHEREAS, a number of factors appear to be contributing to this public health crisis, chief among the causes is the sharp increase in recent years in the availability of illicitly produced fentanyl and fentanyl- related substances, which are potent substances structurally related to fentanyl; and

WHEREAS, illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine and the substances structurally related to fentanyl are also dangerously potent; and

WHEREAS, illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances are manufactured outside the United States by clandestine manufacturers and then smuggled into the United States; and

WHEREAS, illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances are often mixed with heroin and other substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine or used in counterfeit pharmaceutical prescription drugs; and

WHEREAS, users who buy these substances on the illicit market are often unaware of the specific substance they are actually consuming and the associated risk, further exacerbating this public health crisis; and

WHEREAS, a holistic approach, including action by states, the international community, and the federal government is necessary to fight the scourge of trafficking in illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances; and

WHEREAS, at the state level, Wisconsin passed legislation in 2017 designed to curtail the availability of fentanyl-related substances and curb opioid abuse by scheduling fentanyl-related substances as a class and making criminal offenses punishable in the same manner as offenses relating to other synthetic opiates; and

WHEREAS, at the international level, China has recently taken action to ban variants of fentanyl, including additional restrictions on fentanyl-related substances as of May 1, 2019; and

WHEREAS, at the federal level, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued eight temporary scheduling orders to control seventeen substances structurally related to fentanyl since 2015 in response to this crisis; and

WHEREAS, this federal approach has not prevented the emergence of new substances structurally related to fentanyl; and

WHEREAS, when DEA temporarily controls a given substance structurally related to fentanyl, illicit manufacturers located abroad begin producing new such substances through other structural modifications; and

WHEREAS, those new nonscheduled substances then are smuggled into the United States, where they are distributed by traffickers in this country as a purportedly “non-controlled’’ substance, and, in this way, traffickers are effectively circumventing the temporary control mechanism that Congress established under 21 U.S.C. § 811(h) to combat newly emerging dangerous drugs and attempting to avoid the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act; and

WHEREAS, in response, DEA issued a temporary scheduling order to schedule all illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances that are not currently listed in any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and their isomers, esters, ethers, salts and salts of isomers, esters, and ethers in schedule I effective February 6, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the temporary scheduling order for fentanyl-related substances will expire on February 6, 2020, unless made permanent; and

WHEREAS, congressional action by permanently scheduling fentanyl-related substances in schedule I of the CSA prior to February 6, 2020, is vital to stemming the flow of these substances from other countries and protecting United States communities from the ravages of synthetic opioid addiction, overdoses, and overdose deaths; and

WHEREAS, companion versions of the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act were reintroduced on May 22, 2019, in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate; and

WHEREAS, the SOFA Act permanently adds seventeen known fentanyl-related substances in schedule I of the CSA and gives DEA the authority to immediately schedule new fentanyl-related substances as they are discovered, making enforcement and scheduling procedures more proactive. Now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police strongly urges the United States Congress to permanently schedule fentanyl-related substances and to provide the DEA the authority to immediately schedule new fentanyl-related substances as they are discovered, through legislation such as the SOFA Act, in order to close a loophole that allows transnational and domestic drug traffickers to avoid criminal penalties for deadly illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances and allow enforcement agencies to be proactive, rather than reactive, in the battle against opioid addiction, overdose, and overdose deaths.

 

 

 

Submitted by: Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs Committee

NDD.14.19

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