McMorris Rodgers seeks to retain federal control over fentanyl-related substances

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) on April 8 sponsored legislation that would extend for one year a temporary order that keeps fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) instituted a ban on fentanyl-related substances in 2018 for two years and Congress in 2020 renewed an extension to allow these substances to remain scheduled. The extension ends on May 6.

“Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and just a few milligrams can be lethal,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers said. “If Congress doesn’t extend the fentanyl analogues ban by May 6, these extremely lethal drugs coming from China and also across our southern border will essentially become street legal.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers introduced the Temporary Reauthorization of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act, H.R. 2430, with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). If enacted, H.R. 2430 would amend the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act to extend the temporary order for fentanyl-related substances for one year, according to the text of the bill.

In addition, the congresswoman called on Democrats in Congress to work with Republicans to make the extension permanent.

“We need to take swift action to extend the emergency scheduling order and give law enforcement the tools they need to keep Americans safe, especially as the pandemic has made the opioid epidemic worse,” she said. “Make no mistake about it – we are continuing to battle the opioid crisis in our schools, homes and communities across eastern Washington.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers said that for months, there has been “a deeply concerning rise” in opioid usage and overdoses that many experts attribute to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “In Spokane, the seizure of this deadly drug even resulted in the hospitalization of three police officers who were exposed to it,” she said.

H.R. 2430 has been referred for consideration to both the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.