CONCORD - New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is urging the U.S, House of Representatives to expedite passing legislation important in the state's ongoing effort to reduce heroin addiction and overdose deaths.
At stake is the federal government's current enforcement efforts that have classified fentanyl and its derivatives as Schedule 1 narcotics, allowing stepped-up enforcement levels to combat criminal behavior.
That classification is set to expire on Feb. 6 if the House doesn't pass Senate bill 3201, which the upper body already passed.
"Absent such action, law enforcement will be forced to return to a cumbersome, reactive process of complex scientific evaluation that often doesn't even begin until a wave of overdose deaths have occurred," Gov. Sununu said on Monday. "By tying the DEA's hands in its efforts to stem the tide of deaths caused by fentanyl, and its derivatives, which are 50 times more powerful than heroin."
Sununu pointed out in his letter that in 2018, of the 471 drug overdose deaths that occurred in the state, 389 were caused by fentanyl, or in combination with other drugs.
If the House passes the bill, the DEA's scheduling authority will extend till May 6.