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Biden expands ban on fentanyl-like substances

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a law extending the ban on fentanyl-type addictive substances until October, two days before the previous ban expired.

As part of the prescription extension, these fentanyl analogues are classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug and are subject to the strictest controls like heroin.

Fentanyl analogues are potent synthetic opioids believed to have the same effect as the original drug, which, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent.” .

Fentanyl is usually given to people who are in severe pain or following surgery.

Some Republicans have called for the ban on fentanyl analogues to be made permanent, but civil rights groups have opposed the bans. A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that “civil rights and criminal justice stakeholders have raised concerns that classroom-wide planning could result in convictions for substances that may not be eligible. harmful and long sentences for traces of fentanyl-related substances and exacerbate racial disparities in federal sentences. “

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says synthetic opioids are the main source of overdose deaths. Preliminary data released by the CDC last month revealed that in the 12-month period ending September 2020, approximately 90,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, compared with 68,700 overdose deaths from drug during the same period the previous year.

In the 12-month period that ended in July 2020, there were over 50,000 synthetic opioid-related deaths in the United States.

Biden proposed during his presidential campaign to stem the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl, especially from China and Mexico. His plan, for example, called for making fentanyl a top priority in US relations with China and working with Mexican authorities to stop the flow of fentanyl and heroin across the US-Mexico border.

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