A proposal by Congressional Republicans titled the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of (HALT) Fentanyl would make it simpler for researchers to investigate Schedule I substances like cannabis and psychedelics, Marijuana Moment reports.
The bill’s stated purpose is to curb the illegal distribution of fentanyl — a powerfully addictive and deadly opioid — by permanently placing it in the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) but the proposal would also align the registration process for researching Schedule I substances with the requirements for Schedule II drugs, which are significantly easier to research.
It would accomplish this through a number of changes, including:
- Allowing scientists involved in Schedule I drug studies to be encompassed under a DEA registration for the full project (currently, each participating researcher requires their own DEA registration).
- Letting research institutes conduct Schedule I drug studies in multiple locations with a single DEA registration.
- Allowing researchers to move forward with their studies more quickly after submitting them to the Department of Justice.
- Removing some site inspection requirements and, in some cases, allowing researchers to manufacture small amounts of Schedule I drugs.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) and Reps. Morgan Griffith (VA) and Bob Latta (OH), “tracks closely” with recommendations to Congress made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in September, according to a press release.
“Fentanyl and its analogues are fuels that stoke the fire of the opioid crisis devastating families across the country. This bill … would recognize the danger of fentanyl related substances by permanently scheduling them while also allowing researchers to study their effects.” — Rep. Griffith, in a statement
According to the release by Rep. Griffth’s office, fentanyl is currently responsible for about 64% of total U.S. overdose deaths.
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