WASHINGTON, DC (1-25-23) – Today, U.S. Congressmen Bob Latta (R-OH5) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA9) introduced the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of (HALT) Fentanyl Act. Currently, fentanyl and fentanyl related substances temporarily fall under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) due to a temporary scheduling order that runs through December 31, 2024. Due to the increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl related substances (FRS), this bill will address the permanent scheduling of fentanyl analogues in the Schedule I category, as well as grant researchers the ability to conduct studies on these substances.

“Our nation continues to battle a devastating overdose crisis – the vast majority attributed to illicit fentanyl – which has claimed thousands upon thousands of American lives each year,” Latta said. “This epidemic has wreaked havoc on our communities and destroyed far too many families. It’s time to take swift and decisive action to rid our streets and communities of this dangerous drug, which is why I’m proud to co-lead the HALT Fentanyl Act with my colleague, Congressman Griffith, in Congress. This bill is an important step in the effort to curb this deadly crisis and help save precious lives.”

“The opioid crisis continues to devastate families in Virginia and across the country, made worse by fentanyl and its analogues,” Griffith said. “This bill introduced by Congressman Latta and I would recognize the danger of fentanyl related substances by permanently scheduling them, while also allowing researchers to study their effects. As drug overdose deaths reach historic levels in our country, our bill offers a way to make progress amid the tragedy of addiction.”

“Hundreds of thousands of American families have been devastated by the fentanyl crisis, which was the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-49 in 2021,” House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.  “Just this month, Energy and Commerce Republicans heard powerful testimony from Deb and Ray Cullen, parents who tragically lost their 23-year-old son, Zach, to an illicit fentanyl poisoning nine days after his birthday when a drug dealer targeted him and his friends. Passing the HALT Fentanyl Act to permanently schedule fentanyl related substances and keep these lethal substances out of our communities is one of the committee’s top priorities, and I commend Reps. Griffith and Latta for their tireless leadership on this effort.”

Background on HALT Fentanyl Act

The HALT Fentanyl Act closely tracks recommendations to Congress submitted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in September 2021. It would permanently place FRS into Schedule I of the CSA, simplify registration processes for certain research with Schedule I substances, removing barriers that currently impede such work, and provide for exemption of individual FRS from Schedule I when evidence demonstrates it is appropriate.

Background on fentanyl crisis

Fentanyl and fentanyl related substances continue to flood over the U.S. southern border. In FY 2023 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized over 9,000 pounds of fentanyl coming across the southern border, enough to kill over 2.1 billion people, or over 6.4 times the U.S. population. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just a few milligrams, an amount small enough to fit inside the ear of Lincoln on a penny, can be lethal.