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U.S. House Approves Latta, Griffith’s HALT Fentanyl Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House approved the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of (HALT) Fentanyl Act, legislation led by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) and Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA9), through an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. The legislation addresses the permanent scheduling of fentanyl analogues, which is supported by the Biden Administration. 

“With today's bipartisan vote in the House to advance the HALT Fentanyl Act, we are one step closer to curbing the devastating fentanyl poisoning crisis and saving American lives,” Latta said. “For too long, our nation has battled an opioid epidemic fueled in recent years by illicit fentanyl and its analogs, which claimed the lives of more than 5,000 Ohioans and 70,000 Americans in 2021. Illicit fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for people in the United States aged 18 to 49. That's why I have been championing the HALT Fentanyl Act, alongside my friend and colleague, Rep. Morgan Griffith, to permanently label these lethal substances as Schedule I narcotics. This permanent labeling change is significant and needed because it will help get fentanyl-related substances off our streets and out of our communities. I now urge the Senate to take up this bill and send it to the president’s desk to be signed into law.  Our constituents need this solution; lives are on the line if we do not act. It’s time to get this bill across the finish line.”

Click here to view Latta’s remarks in support of the HALT Fentanyl Act on the U.S. House Floor. 

“I am pleased the House has voted in favor of my critical legislation with Congressman Latta to permanently schedule deadly fentanyl analogues, strengthening law enforcement’s ability to prosecute fentanyl traffickers. The bill also promotes research of fentanyl analogues in the hopes of finding medicinal uses. As drug overdose deaths reach historic levels in our country, the HALT Fentanyl Act offers a way to make progress amid the tragedy of addiction,” Griffith said. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation so that we may send it to the president’s desk to be signed into law.”

“Due to the Biden administration’s incompetence at the border, fentanyl has flowed into American communities and destroyed lives,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.“Democrats had more than two years to address their own self-created crisis, but they have failed to do their job and the epidemic has only gotten worse under their watch. Like every other crisis ignored by Democrats, House Republicans are committed to delivering solutions. The HALT Fentanyl Act is one needed tool to help stop the flow of fentanyl and provides law enforcement agencies the authority they need to help them adequately address this crime. I am grateful to the leadership of Congressman Latta and Congressman Griffith – their work will help save lives and strengthen communities.”

“President Biden’s open border policy has caused fentanyl to flood into our country, destroying lives and communities,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise said. “In 2022, the DEA seized over 379 million doses of fentanyl – enough to kill every single American. House Republicans passed H.R. 2 to secure our border but President Biden refuses to take action. I want to thank Reps. Morgan Griffith and Bob Latta for bringing forward the HALT Fentanyl Act to permanently schedule fentanyl related substances as a class I controlled substance to give our law enforcement the tools they need to protect Americans. House Republicans are committed to removing this poison from our streets, and this legislation is an important step in that commitment.”

“In my home district, 16 people died due to an overdose on fentanyl last year alone – including a two-year-old who accidentally ingested the drug,” Majority Whip Tom Emmer said. “Fentanyl flowing through Joe Biden’s open borders is wreaking havoc in every single community across America, and I’m grateful for the leadership of Reps. Morgan Griffith and Bob Latta on providing a commonsense solution to keep this lethal drug off our streets.”

“While Joe Biden has turned a blind eye to the catastrophic cost of his open border policies, House Republicans are committed to keeping our nation safe and getting illicit fentanyl off our streets,” Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said. “I applaud Congressmen Latta and Griffith, as well as the House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, for their tireless work to pass the HALT Fentanyl Act and lead the fight against illicit fentanyl which has intimately impacted my community and communities across the country.”

Background on the HALT Fentanyl Act:

Currently, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues temporarily fall under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) due to a temporary scheduling order that runs through Dec. 31, 2024. The HALT Fentanyl Act would permanently place fentanyl analogues into Schedule I of the CSA, simplify registration processes for certain research with Schedule I substances, remove barriers that currently impede such work, and provide for exemption of individual analogues from Schedule I when evidence demonstrates it is appropriate.

HALT Fentanyl Act is a Drug Enforcement Administration priority:

In February, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and stated that having fentanyl-related substances fall under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will allow the DEA to “arrest and seize when we encounter fentanyl related substances.” The DEA official also stated in his testimony that it costs drug cartels as little as ten cents to produce a fentanyl-laced fake prescription pill sold in the United States. That means with a mere dime, drug cartels are able kill one American. 

Background on the fentanyl crisis:

Fentanyl and fentanyl related substances continue to flood over the U.S. southern border. In FY 2023 alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized over 17,000 pounds of fentanyl coming across the southern border. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Just a few milligrams, an amount small enough to fit inside the ear of Lincoln on a penny, can be lethal.

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