House votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances

Getty Images

The House easily passed legislation on Wednesday to extend a ban on copycats of fentanyl, a highly addictive synthetic opioid, that is set to expire on May 6 without congressional action.

Lawmakers passed the bill by voice vote to extend through Oct. 22 the federal government’s ability to regulate fentanyl analogues as one of the most strictly controlled drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Synthetic opioids — including fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine — are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 50,000 deaths involving all synthetic opioids in a 12-month period ending in July 2020.

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), whose state has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, said it’s all the more urgent for Congress to extend the classification for fentanyl analogues — which has been in place since 2018 — given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on drug use.

“The addiction crisis has worsened as a result of this pandemic and this is not the time to let regulations lapse or to back away from our commitment to get people the help that they need,” Pappas said on the House floor.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where some senators have proposed a longer extension. Earlier this week, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced legislation to extend the fentanyl analogue classification through July 6, 2022.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, supported the legislation on Wednesday but called for a longer-term extension.

“This short-term extension from the Democratic majority fails to meet the gravity of the situation facing our communities, our border and our country,” McMorris Rodgers said.

The Justice Department last week signaled support for a seven-month extension on the fentanyl analogue ban.

Tags Cathy McMorris Rodgers Chris Pappas Chuck Grassley Fentanyl John Cornyn Maggie Hassan

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video