U.S. Justice Department backs extending ban on fentanyl copycats

The department said in a statement late on Monday it intends to "work with Congress to seek a clean, seven-month extension to prevent this important law enforcement tool from lapsing." The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration since 2018 has sought to crack down on the proliferation of chemical look-alikes of fentanyl, known as "analogues," by classifying them as so-called Schedule 1 drugs, meaning like heroin they are highly addictive and have no medical use.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 14-04-2021 01:54 IST | Created: 14-04-2021 01:52 IST
U.S. Justice Department backs extending ban on fentanyl copycats
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

The U.S. Justice Department has signaled support for legislation to extend by seven months a ban on illegal copycat versions of fentanyl, the powerful synthetic painkiller that has helped fuel the nation's opioid epidemic. Without action from Congress, the temporary ban on all variants of fentanyl - a drug 100 times more potent than morphine - would expire on May 6. The department said in a statement late on Monday it intends to "work with Congress to seek a clean, seven-month extension to prevent this important law enforcement tool from lapsing."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration since 2018 has sought to crack down on the proliferation of chemical look-alikes of fentanyl, known as "analogues," by classifying them as so-called Schedule 1 drugs, meaning like heroin they are highly addictive and have no medical use. Fentanyl has been linked to large numbers of deaths as the United States battles a decades-old opioid epidemic. Many of the fentanyl analogues that have flooded America's streets were manufactured in China or Mexico.

The DEA under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump lobbied Congress to make permanent a temporary ban on all fentanyl chemical copycats, both to deter their importation and to make it easier for prosecutors to bring drug trafficking cases. Before the class-wide ban, the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were required to undertake a rigorous scientific study of each individual new variant of fentanyl found on the streets before it could be added to Schedule 1.

Congress has balked at making the ban permanent amid concerns voiced by criminal justice advocates and some researchers that such action could make it harder for scientists to win approval for studying the substances and could lead to mass incarceration of low-level drug dealers and addicts. The Justice Department's statement acknowledged these concerns, saying it intends to "address legitimate concerns related to mandatory minimums (prison terms) and researcher access to these substances."

In a statement, a Republican aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that while it is "good to see the Biden administration acknowledge the ban is working," the Justice Department's proposed seven-month extension "does not provide Congress enough time to develop a more permanent fix to reduce synthetic fentanyl importation, overdoses and prosecutions."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Realme Narzo 30 fully revealed in unboxing video

The Realme Narzo 30 is all set to join the Narzo 30 series which already includes two models - Narzo 30A and Narzo 30 Pro. The smartphone will debut in Malaysia on May 18th at 12PM.Ahead of the official unveiling, a new leak via tipster Ank...

Golf-Thai Ariya ends 14-year wait for home LPGA title

Ariya Jutanugarn finally got her hands on the Honda LPGA Thailand title after 14 years of trying on Sunday, beating compatriot Atthaya Thitikul by one stroke in a dramatic finish to the 1.6 million tournament.Having hit a ninth birdie at th...

Putin tells Red Square parade that Nazi ideas persist

Russian President Vladimir Putin marked the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe with a speech warning that Nazi beliefs remain strong.Speaking to the annual military parade on Moscows Red Square, Putin on Sunday decried attempt...

Study uncovers clues on evolution, diversification of legumes

The most comprehensive study of the family tree for legumes, the plant family that includes beans, soybeans, peanuts, and many other economically important crop plants, reveals a history of whole-genome duplications. The study also helps to...

Give Feedback