ShareThis Page
World

All forms of deadly opioid fentanyl illegal under temporary DEA order

Renatta Signorini
| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, 11:09 a.m.
In this Aug. 9, 2016, file photo, a bag of 4-fluoro isobutyryl fentanyl, which was seized in a drug raid, is displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Va.
In this Aug. 9, 2016, file photo, a bag of 4-fluoro isobutyryl fentanyl, which was seized in a drug raid, is displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Va.

All forms of illicitly manufactured fentanyl, including ones that have not been introduced to drug users in the United States, are now illegal under a temporary order this week from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The move is in response to an explosion of drug overdose deaths connected to the potent synthetic opioid that is driving an addiction and overdose crisis. Between 2012 and 2015, deaths attributed to synthetic opioids increased 264 percent nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, fentanyl was present in the bloodstream of about 75 percent of people who died from a drug overdose in 2017, compared to 27 percent in 2015, according to coroner and medical examiner statistics.

“By proactively scheduling the whole class of illicit fentanyl substances simultaneously, federal agents and prosecutors can take swift and necessary action against those bringing this poison into our communities,” DEA Acting Administrator Robert W. Patterson said in a news release.

Different types of fentanyl are being manufactured overseas and smuggled or shipped into the U.S. With a tweak of the molecular structure, a new form or analogue can be created. Fentanyl is being mixed with heroin and cocaine and can be packaged in stamp bags and sold as heroin.

The DEA's order makes illegal all types of fentanyl and different forms that may be created in the future.“Control of these substances is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety,” Patterson wrote in the order filed with the Federal Register.

The temporary order will be in effect until February 2020.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me