In three weeks an order that criminalizes fentanyl-related substances is set to expire; however, one Ohio Senator aims to make sure it becomes law, permanently.
Republican Senator Rob Portman took the Senate floor Tuesday to urge his colleagues to pass the bi-partisan legislation called Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act. This bill will permanently outlaw fentanyl-related substances.
Two years ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) passed a temporary scheduling on fentanyl that allowed the federal government to charge people who manufacture, distribute, or handle fentanyl-related substances, according to a statement from the senator.
“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,” Portman said when he introduced this bill in October.
Fentanyl started to kill Americans at high rates last decade. From 2011 to 2017, fentanyl-related deaths increased 1,125 percent, according to LiveStories. Specifically in Ohio, fentanyl was involved in 73 percent of overdose deaths in 2017, according to the state’s health department.
During Portman’s speech, he noted that this is one of the most partisan times the United States has ever seen. Yet, he pointed to one thing both parties were willing to work on: the ongoing drug addiction crisis.
The veteran lawmaker highlighted how Congress increased funding for recovery treatment, and how this year’s spending bill included funding for the Combating Meth and Cocaine Act and Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which tries to tackle America’s opioid epidemic.
After showing how Congress can be unified around this key issue, Portman asked senators to come together one more time around the FIGHT Fentanyl Act.
“So I’m urging today that all of our colleagues focus on this issue, join us in this common-sense, lifesaving legislation. Let’s work together, the Judiciary Committee has been working on this, others have worked on this. We have legislation at the desk to be able to solve it. I hope we could do it by unanimous consent. But we have to do it. This is lifesaving legislation to keep fentanyl from spreading its poison even further.”
So far the FIGHT Fentanyl Act has only been introduced and has not made it to committee yet.
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