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    Rutledge Joins Bipartisan Coalition Calling for Fentanyl to Remain a Schedule I Drug


    December 12, 2019

    LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a bipartisan coalition of 56 attorneys general in calling for Congress to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

    “Fentanyl is an increasingly common, cheap and lethal drug,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “Its pain-relieving effects are greatly overshadowed by the overwhelming number of overdoses and addictions it has caused. Keeping its classification as Schedule I means that law enforcement and courts can bring criminal actions against those who manufacture, distribute or handle fentanyl-related substances.”

    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.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a temporary scheduling order in February 2018 to make any fentanyl-related substances a Schedule I Drug. This scheduling order is set to expire on Feb. 6, 2020. The FIGHT Fentanyl Act codifies DEA precedent to schedule fentanyl-related substances.

    The FIGHT Fentanyl Act will ensure law enforcement agencies and courts retain the tools needed to keep those who traffic in this deadly substance off the streets.

    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. Of those deaths, roughly 40% involved fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound.

    Attorneys general from every state, territory and the District of Columbia signed the letter.

    With the support of every Attorney General including Arkansas’s, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions.

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