Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) applauded the Senate passage of legislation he introduced and worked to pass in the House which extends the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) temporary order to keep fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This legislation passed the House unanimously last week prior to going before the Senate.
Chemical versions of fentanyl are ever-changing and traffickers intentionally make small variations in substances, knowing that the scheduling process can take months in order to place these deadly drugs in Schedule 1. This legislation ensures that all deadly fentanyl analogues are automatically categorized as Schedule 1, a designation used for substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
The DEA issued a temporary order in February 2018 to categorize fentanyl and fentanyl analogues as Schedule I drugs. Congress passed legislation extending that order through May 6, 2021 in February 2020. Pappas’s legislation, the Extending Temporary Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act, would extend that order again through September 6, 2021.
“I am pleased that the Senate has passed my legislation to prevent the regulation of fentanyl analogues from expiring on May 6, and I hope President Biden will swiftly sign this common sense measure into law,” said Congressman Pappas. “Synthetic opioids continue to take the lives of our family members, friends, and neighbors here in New Hampshire and across the country at an alarming rate. This legislation will extend the scheduling of all fentanyl analogues as Schedule 1, and it will prevent more of these drugs from flooding our communities and will help bring traffickers to justice. I want to thank Senator Hassan for her bipartisan efforts on this issue. I remain committed to working across the aisle with our federal delegation, the Biden Administration, and public safety and health experts to realize a permanent solution to this issue that will protect our families and communities.”
In New Hampshire, drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 412 in 2018 and have remained stable since 2015. Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogues) have remained steady, but high over the past several years with 386 deaths in 2018.
The number of deaths from fentanyl-related substances is unknown, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were more than 50,000 deaths involving all synthetic opioids in the 12-month period ending July 2020.
Additionally, the underlying bill that this legislation extends also directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report on the classification of fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I controlled substances, research on fentanyl-related substances, and the importation of fentanyl-related substances into the United States.
On Friday, April 16th, Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) introduced legislation to extend the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) temporary order to keep fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to ensure law enforcement can keep them off the streets. This is a designation used for substances with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
The House unanimously passed this legislation on April 21.
Last year, Rep. Pappas voted to pass, H.R. 7990, the Fighting Emerging Narcotics Through Additional Nations to Yield Lasting Results Act, or FENTANYL Results Act, which would prioritize efforts of the Department of State to combat international trafficking via increased collaboration with the international community through shared anti-trafficking initiatives and capacity-building measures.
In November 2020, Pappas voted to pass H.R. 2466, the State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act Of 2020, which Pappas co-sponsored. This legislation reauthorizes through FY2024 the State Opioid Response Grants program which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program works to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and supports evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services to address stimulant misuse and use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine.
Last year, Pappas joined the New Hampshire Congressional delegation in announcing $28 million in federal funding to combat the opioid and substance misuse epidemic in 2020.
Pappas voted to pass H.R. 7617, the second annual appropriations package, which funds a range of critical national priorities, including the fight against the addiction epidemic in our communities. The legislation includes several key provisions introduced by Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), including an amendment he passed with Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) to increase funding for Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers.