FIRST ON FOX – Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, R-N.Y., on Tuesday introduced legislation aiming to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as having the highest potential of abuse.
Fox News Digital first reported that D’Esposito, who represents New York’s 4th congressional district, introduced the Protecting Americans from Fentanyl Trafficking Act to make fentanyl-related substances a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act. The companion bill to D’Esposito’s House legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.
“No community in the United States has been spared by the harrowing effects of the drug epidemic. Fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances are invading our communities and Congress must make permanent this drug’s temporary scheduling order,” D’Esposito said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Too many Americans are falling victim to drug overdose or addiction due to fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances, and we must ensure that those who distribute these drugs are punished to the fullest extent of the law. I urge my colleagues to put politics aside and support this needed and necessary legislation.”
Schedule I substances are considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to have the highest potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. The temporary scheduling order placing fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act expires on Dec. 31, 2024.
The proposed legislation would make the temporary order permanent.
In 2022 alone, 110,000 Americans lost their lives due to the tragic effects of fentanyl. In the last five years, fentanyl-related overdose has more than tripled, D’Esposito’s office noted.
D’Esposito’s office stated that the freshman congressman has long made combating fentanyl and other opiates a priority. As a retired NYPD detective and ex-chief of the Island Park Fire Department, D’Esposito has hosted Narcan training seminars across Nassau County, they said.
Through those educational workshops, residents were trained in how to use Narcan to reverse fentanyl-related overdoses and attendees left with Narcan training kits “that provide Long Islanders with the tools necessary to join the fight against fentanyl,” his office said.
“I have spent my entire career combating illicit opiates, including fentanyl, and the introduction of the Protecting Americans from Fentanyl Trafficking Act is just the latest iteration of this decades long commitment,” D’Esposito said in a statement.
In March, Cotton and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced the Protecting Americans from Fentanyl Trafficking Act to the upper chamber of Congress. Like with D’Esposito’s bill, the companion legislation aimed to make permanent the DEA’s temporary controls on fentanyl analogues to control the deadly substance.
The Senate bill was introduced a day after Rebecca Kiessling, whose two sons died from fentanyl overdoses, testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on the impact of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies.
Kiessling “testified before Congress … that when it comes to fentanyl we’re at war and we need to act like we’re at war,” Graham said in a statement announcing the legislation. “She tragically lost both her sons to fentanyl overdoses from a single pill laced with enough fentanyl to kill an individual four times over. Her sons bought what they thought to be Percocet, and it turned out to be pure fentanyl. They both died from the ingestion. Fentanyl is the leading cause of death among 18-45 year olds in America.”
“More Americans die from fentanyl poisoning than car accidents and gun violence combined! Under President Biden, we’ve lost complete operational control of the border,” he argued. “Fentanyl is flooding into our country. We should be going after Mexican drug cartels and other transnational criminal organizations who deal this deadly drug by designating them as foreign terrorist organizations – giving us even more tools to combat this epidemic.”