WASHINGTON, DC – Over the weekend, President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed that Beijing would crack down on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. At the meeting, China promised to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that people selling fentanyl to the United States will be subject to China’s maximum penalty under the law.
This agreement comes on the heels of President Donald Trump signing H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, into law. This landmark legislation, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), is the most significant congressional effort against a single drug crisis in history. H.R. 6 contained several provisions to help fight deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl, including cracking down on foreign shipments of illicit drugs and providing grants to local communities.
And the House has taken this fight even further, passing the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act of 2017 – a bill to modernize scheduling guidelines to keep pace with the fast-changing nature of synthetic drugs. This inter-agency consensus proposal would give law enforcement the tools they need to help get illicit synthetic drugs, like fentanyl, off our streets without compromising important public health and research protections. But in order to experience the full effect of this novel concept, the Senate must pass H.R. 2851 and send it to the president’s desk.
Fighting fentanyl has been a pivotal piece in the House’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis. From #SubHealth’s efforts to advance legislative solutions to better tackle the ever-changing synthetic drug to #SubOversight’s ongoing investigation examining the public health threats it poses and the use of pill presses in pill mills, these efforts will better equip our communities to combat the “Crisis Next Door.”