DEA temporarily places fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I

04-13-2018 Posted in drug abuse

To avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a temporary scheduling order of fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I in the United States. Currently, they are not placed in any schedule of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Substances placed under the Schedule I have a high potential for abuse, lack safety for use and have no accepted medical use in treatment. In addition to the above stringent measure, the order will also schedule the isomers, esters, ethers, salts and salts of isomers, etc. of fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I. 

Once this order is effective, regulatory controls and sanctions applicable to Schedule I controlled substances will be imposed on individuals handling fentanyl-related substances. The above action of the DEA is based on a finding that the placement of these substances in Schedule I is essential to avoid an impending threat to the public safety. The temporary scheduling encompasses all fentanyl-related substances, including those yet to emerge on the illicit market in the U.S. The order is effective from Feb. 6, 2018 until Feb. 6, 2020.

Given the alarming rise in the number of fentanyl-related deaths, the above measure will play a pivotal role in controlling the menace. Typically manufactured outside the U.S. by illegal manufacturers, fentanyl is around 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Moreover, there has been an incredible increase in the use of fentanyl in the manufacturing of counterfeit pharmaceutical prescription drugs.

Fentanyl: A key drug stoking opioid epidemic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl for limited use as a pain reliever and anesthetic. It is commonly prescribed for severe or chronic pain due to cancer, neurological damage, back injury, etc. The drug can be taken orally (pill or tablet), injected, smoked or snorted/sniffed. Often considered the synthetic cousin of heroin, the recent increase in fentanyl-related deaths has been due to the mixing of illicitly made fentanyl with and selling as heroin, as well as a massive expansion in the use of fentanyl as counterfeit drugs as mentioned above.

As per the U.S. officials, fentanyl that comes into the U.S. is produced in China and is commonly transited through Mexico. According to the DEA, more than 12 different analogues of fentanyl have been produced clandestinely and identified in the U.S. drug traffic. Although the biological effects of the drug are indistinguishable from those of heroin, fentanyl is comparatively stronger and deadlier than fentanyl. The traces of fentanyl were found in the deaths of celebrities like Michael Jackson, Tom Petty, Prince, etc. In fact, the drug is so unbelievably dangerous that even inhaling small particles can turn fatal.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), synthetic opioid overdoses claimed approximately 20,000 American lives in 2016. It also reported an increase in drug overdose deaths (excluding methadone) by 72.2 percent from 5,544 in 2014 to 9,580 in 2015. Being cheaper than heroin, people try to purchase fentanyl illegally and tend to mix it with heroin and cocaine to heighten its effects. Given that fentanyl is also laced with other drugs sold on the street, an unsuspecting buyer may not know what he or she is getting.

Stop indulging in drugs

Fentanyl can be toxic even when taken in very small amounts. Regardless of whether the drug came with a prescription or purchased illegally, the high psychoactive properties of fentanyl make it too dangerous to consume without medical supervision. People addicted to fentanyl require a professional treatment that combines medically supervised detoxification followed by intense psychotherapies.

If you or someone you know is fighting an addiction to synthetic opioids, it is time to seek professional help for drug abuse. At the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline, we can help you learn more about the best treatment services in your area and connect you with the best treatment centers as per your needs. Call at our 24/7 drug addiction helpline or chat online with our representatives to know about the finest rehab centers near you.

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