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MI AG Nessel Leads Call for Fentanyl to Remain a Schedule I Drug

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Attorneys General from every state, territory and the District of Columbia today urged 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 possess a high potential for abuse.

“I am proud to stand with each one of my colleagues today as we fight to protect our residents from the irreparable damage fentanyl-related substances continue to cause,” said Nessel. “I would like to thank the Attorney General of Ohio, Dave Yost for not only taking the lead on this letter with me, but for proving to this nation that when it comes to humanity and keeping our residents safe, party affiliation doesn’t play a role.”

In 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of the 72,000 drug-related deaths involved fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound. In their letter, the Attorneys General encourage Congress to pass S.2701, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

“I appreciate Ohio Attorney General Yost and Michigan Attorney General Nessel leading all of our country’s Attorneys General in urging Congress to pass the FIGHT Fentanyl Act, my bipartisan legislation to permanently criminalize fentanyl-related substances in the United States,” said Senator Portman. “Fentanyl knows no zip code and is devastating individuals and families all across the country. This bipartisan legislation is vital to our efforts to keep fentanyl out of our communities and I urge my colleagues in Congress listen to our attorneys general and join in supporting this common-sense legislation.”

“The impacts of the opioid epidemic can be felt in every family, every community and every state, especially my home state of West Virginia,” said Senator Manchin. “Fentanyl now makes up the majority of overdose deaths in my state. To combat this epidemic, we need all of the help we can get to make sure fentanyl isn’t distributed to anyone struggling with substance use disorder. That’s why I joined my friend Rob Portman to introduce the FIGHT Fentanyl Act, so that we can keep fentanyl out of our communities. I’m proud to have all of the Attorneys General support so we can effectively combat this national issue.”

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.

The temporary scheduling order – to schedule fentanyl-related substances – issued in February 2018 by The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has allowed federal law enforcement authorities to bring criminal actions against individuals who manufacture, distribute or handle fentanyl-related substances. This scheduling order is set to expire less than two months from now on Feb. 6, 2020. The FIGHT Fentanyl Act codifies DEA precedent to schedule fentanyl-related substances.

Attorneys General from every state, territory and the District of Columbia have signed this letter.

With the support of every Attorney General, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has chosen to endorse the legislation as one of its official policy positions. This type of endorsement typically only occurs about a dozen times per year.  

A photo of lead cosigners Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, and part of the coalition is available here.