FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has joined his counterparts from the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in calling upon Congress to pass legislation dealing with the opioid crisis.
In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders of both parties, the 52 attorneys general want lawmakers to pass The Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act, or SOFA, which would allow the Drug Enforcement Administration to proactively identify and schedule new fentanyl variants.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat late-stage cancer patients. Once a small piece of the chemical structure of fentanyl is modified, the new compound falls into a legal gap.
The SOFA act would close this gap by adding known fentanyl analogues to the Schedule I list and provide the DEA the authority to immediately schedule new fentanyl analogues as they are discovered, making enforcement and scheduling procedures more proactive.
“In Kentucky and nationwide, overdose deaths related to fentanyl now surpass deaths related to heroin and this legislation must be passed for law enforcement to effectively combat those driving the illicit production and distribution of deadly fentanyl variants,” Beshear said. “Closing this loophole will make it easier to prosecute crimes involving synthetic opioids and will save lives.”
According to a July report released by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, fatal overdoses in Kentucky totaled 1,565 in 2017, an 11.5 percent increase over the previous year. Fentanyl was a factor in approximately 763 deaths and 52 percent of the toxicology cases.