DEA Temporarily Adds 7 Fentanyl Substances as Schedule I Drug
The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is issuing this notice of intent to publish a temporary order to schedule seven fentanyl-related substances in schedule I.
Substances in schedule I are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
This action is based on a finding by the Administrator that the placement of these seven synthetic opioids in schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. No approved medical use has been identified for these seven substances, nor have they been approved by the FDA for human consumption.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is sometimes prescribed to treat severe pain, such as in cancer patients. Fentanyl is significantly more potent that Heroin (40-50 times stronger) and carries a high risk of overdose.
Illicit fentanyl, manufactured in foreign countries and then smuggled into the United States, is a rising factor in the current overdose epidemic. It is usually mixed into heroin products or pressed into counterfeit prescription pills, sometimes without the users’ awareness, which often leads to overdose.
“Sadly, this report reconfirms that opioids such as heroin and fentanyl – and diverted prescription pain pills – are killing people in this country at a horrifying rate,” said Acting Administrator Rosenberg. “We face a public health crisis of historic proportions. Countering it requires a comprehensive approach that includes law enforcement, education, and treatment.”
This announcement comes as the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plans to begin testing truck drivers and other “safety-sensitive” transportation employees for the semi-synthetic opioids, often taken as pain pills: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone, starting January 1st, 2018.
The temporary scheduling order for fentanyl will be published in the Federal Register, but will not be issued before January 12, 2018.