April 21, 2021

Manchin: Permanently Reschedule Fentanyl Now To Save American Lives

To watch Senator Manchin deliver remarks on the Senate Floor click here

Washington, DC – This evening, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) delivered remarks on the Senate Floor urging Congress to pass his bipartisan bill, the FIGHT Fentanyl Act, which would permanently reschedule fentanyl and fentanyl related substances.

“In 2019, 36,359 people died because of fentanyl. That’s 51% of all overdose deaths that year. We know 2020 was a record year in drug overdoses, mainly driven by fentanyl related substances and the COVID-19 pandemic. We can safely assume there were at least 44,000 deaths related to fentanyl last year. In total, that’s over 80,000 people that have died because of fentanyl in the last two years. It’s heartbreaking to lose so many Americans to preventable overdoses. The time to permanently schedule this deadly substance is now,” said Senator Manchin.

In February 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a temporary scheduling order to schedule fentanyl-related substances that has allowed federal law enforcement authorities to bring criminal actions against individuals who manufacture, distribute, or handle fentanyl-related substances. A year ago, the Senate extended the scheduling order through May 6, 2021 via Unanimous Consent. The House extended it by a vote of 320-88.

Senator Manchin continued, “We know that fentanyl is deadly. It’s killing Americans at record rates. West Virginia, my home state, has the highest overdose rates per capita in the nation, and every West Virginian is familiar with the horrible impacts of the drug epidemic on our family, friends, and neighbors… That’s why Senator Portman and I reintroduced the bipartisan FIGHT Fentanyl Act to permanently schedule fentanyl and fentanyl analogues… We cannot afford to keep kicking the can down the road.”

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address the opioid crisis can be found here.