Attorney General Frosh Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Calling for Fentanyl to Remain a Schedule I Drug

All 56 State and Territory Attorneys General Offer Collective Support for Crucial Legislation

News Release, Office of the Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh

BALTIMORE, MD (December 11, 2019) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a bipartisan coalition of all 56 state and territory attorneys general in calling for Congress to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs, which are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

“Fentanyl-related overdose deaths continue to remain a crisis in Maryland and around the country, and this critical legislation gives law enforcement the tools to help curb this epidemic,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Fentanyl is being used as a cheap—and deadly—filler for street drugs such as heroin, and continued state and federal efforts are crucial in getting illicit, non-prescription drugs out of our communities.”

In their letter, the attorneys general urge Congress to pass S. 2701, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a temporary scheduling order in February 2018 to schedule fentanyl-related substances that have 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 in less than two months, on February 6, 2020.  The FIGHT Fentanyl Act codifies DEA precedent to schedule fentanyl-related substances.

The FIGHT Fentanyl Act will ensure law enforcement agencies and courts retain the tools needed to keep those who traffic in this deadly substance off the streets.  In the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 72,000 drug-related deaths in the United States in 2017.  Of those deaths, roughly 40% involved fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound.

With the support of every attorney general, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions.


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