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DEA temporarily allocates fentanyl-related substances to Schedule I to tackle exigencies of opioid epidemic

02-09-18 Category: Opioid, Prescription Medication

DEA temporarily allocates fentanyl-related substances to Schedule I to tackle exigencies of opioid epidemic

Amidst the unabated surge of opioid pandemic in the United States, responsible for unleashing a mayhem, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has decided to temporarily schedule the fentanyl analogues in Schedule I. With the frightening increase in overdose deaths due to opioids, this action has been taken to curb the growing threat of fentanyl analogues to the public safety.

Fentanyl, a painkiller that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, is involved in thousands of overdoses that occur in the U.S. every day.  In fact, many fear its emergence as the next most dangerous drug. As a result, fentanyl has been already been listed as a Schedule I substance that needs a prescription due to the high risk of abuse.

However, there has been an increased manufacturing of fentanyl analogues, which are similar to fentanyl in chemical makeup. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recent spate of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths are associated with illegally made fentanyl sold in the gray market for its heroin-like effects.

The manufacturers often mix it with heroin or cocaine for creating a combo product or counterfeit prescription drugs for increasing euphoric effects.  end users usually don’t not have any clue about it. Due to lack of awareness, such a malpractice can prove catastrophic for them. Therefore, the scheduling of the fentanyl analogues will enable law-enforcement agencies to take effective measures against those trafficking them to the American society.

Temporary scheduling not enough to control emerging fentanyl analogues

Currently, fentanyl-related substances are not listed under any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in Schedule I. Hence, Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson of the DEA issued this scheduling to thwart overdoses and deaths. Despite being a temporary measure, people handling fentanyl-related substances will be subjected to the same criminal prosecution applied to controlled substances.

As discussed earlier, the above move will curb imminent hazard to the public safety, scale down the flow of these substances into the country and pull the plugs on the overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids. According to Patterson, this proactive scheduling of the “whole class of illicit fentanyl substances simultaneously” would enable prosecutors and federal agents to take prompt action against those responsible for exposing people to this venomous substance. Explaining the objective of the DEA, Patterson further explained, “DEA is committed to using all of its tools to aggressively fight and address the opioid crisis and growing fentanyl problem plaguing the United States.”

However, sceptics have raised serious concerns. According to them, though the DEA has issued around eight temporary scheduling orders to control 17 fentanyl substances since 2015, it has not been successful in preventing the flow of new modified fentanyl analogues created to circumvent the law.  Therefore, they have been demanding the implementation of such laws in such a manner that illicit manufacturers and traffickers are unable to circumvent them. Given the dangers associated with fentanyl-related substances not introduced in the American market, many have supported them being controlled under Section 811(h).

Opioid crisis shearing through the society

The present opioid crisis in the U.S. is unprecedented in nature. In fact, it is worse than anything that the nation has seen before. More than 42,000 people died due to opioid overdoses (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) in 2016. According to a report of the CDC, the increased abuse of fentanyl has worsened the ongoing opioid epidemic like never before. A majority of 64,000 overdose deaths that occurred in 2016 were due to opioids, such as prescription pain relievers, heroin, fentanyl and its analogues, etc. In fact, around 56 percent of opioid deaths in about 10 states involved fentanyl.

Like any other addiction, opioid addiction is also a scourge, which often turns fatal if not intervened at the right time. However, with timely treatment intervention, one can gain long-term recovery from opioid dependence and lead an addiction-free life. If you have a loved one struggling with opioid addiction, seek immediate help of opioids detox treatment in your vicinity.

Sovereign Health, based out of San Clemente, offers comprehensive treatment for opioid addiction through the state-of-the-art opiate rehab centers manned by trained medical practitioners. Call at our 24/7 helpline number to know more about our opioids detox centers for you or your loved one.

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