Fox Joins Bipartisan Coalition in Calling for Fentanyl to Remain a Schedule I Drug
Attorney General Tim Fox was joined in a bipartisan coalition today of all 56 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.
“The FIGHT Fentanyl Act will ensure that law enforcement agencies and courts retain the tools needed to keep those who traffic in this deadly substance off the streets,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Less than two months from now, a temporary scheduling order that helps federal authorities get fentanyl out of our communities is set to expire. It’s imperative that Congress pass this legislation so states can prevent more opioid addictions and deaths,” Fox added.
In the 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 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 schedule fentanyl-related substances.
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. Roughly 40% involved fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound.
Attorneys general from every state, territory, and the District of Columbia signed the letter; the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) endorsed the legislation as one of its official policy positions. NAAG typically endorses around one dozen policies a year.
Two years ago, as part of Fox’s Aid Montana initiative, his office coordinated training in conjunction with NAAG’s education branch centered around methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl overdose deaths. The course, attended by county attorneys and law enforcement officers from across Montana, was designed to help them investigate and prosecute overdose deaths.