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Marshall pushes for bill to permanently classify fentanyl as Schedule I drug

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FILE(Ed Pearce)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:16 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Roger Marshall has offered his support for legislation to permanently classify fentanyl as a Schedule I narcotic.

On Tuesday, May 10, National Fentanyl Awareness Day, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) announced his support for the HALT Fentanyl Act, which would permanently give law enforcement tools to help combat the crisis currently wreaking havoc in the Sunflower State.

Sen. Marshall said the legislation would permanently place fenatnyl-related substances as a class into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. He said a Schedule I controlled substance is a drug, substance or chemical that has a high potential for abuse; has no currently accepted medical value; and is subject to regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act.

Marshall noted that the Schedule I inclusion for fentanyl-related substances is temporary and set to expire later in 2022.

“Fentanyl is the deadliest drug our country has ever seen and is affecting Kansans at record rates. With just one teaspoon of fentanyl having the ability to kill thousands of people and a deadly amount being able to fit on the tip of a pencil, we must do everything in our power to stop this terrible scourge and give Kansas law enforcement the tools to help combat it – that starts with permanently making fentanyl a Schedule I controlled substance,” Marshall said. “As Joe Biden maintains his open borders policies, which enable criminals to bring fentanyl into our country, we need to at least increase the penalty for the crime of doing so.”

The Senator said he is a co-sponsor of the Senate resolution to designate May 10 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. He said the resolution supports increased individual and public awareness of the impact counterfeit substances can have on families and young people.

Marshall said fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine and Kansas saw a 54% increase in drug overdoses in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. He said of the 338 people that died of drug overdoses in Kansas during that time, 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl-related drugs, which topped all other drugs in 2021.

While not on the Kansas side, Marshall said the Kansas City Police Department announced accidental overdoses from fentanyl-related substances climbed nearly 150% from 2019 to 2020 - particularly among those between 15 and 24. In 2021, it said out of 129 overdoses in KCMO, 50 were fentanyl-related.

On the other side of the state, Marshall noted that the Wichita Police Department seized 7,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop in March. WPD also recently worked five suspected overdose cases in a 24-hour period - two of which were juveniles.

Nationally, Marshall said 4 in 10 pills examined by the Drug Enforcement Administration contain a deadly amount of fentanyl - which can fit on the tip of a pencil. In the past 14 months, he said more than 12,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized.

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