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Missouri Attorney General Urges Congress to Close Deadly Fentanyl Loophole

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 52 state and territory attorneys general, called on Congress today to help end the opioid epidemic and close a loophole that allows those who traffic deadly fentanyl to stay a step ahead of law enforcement.

Led by Attorneys General Brad Schimel, R-Wis., and George Jepsen, D-Conn., the attorneys general sent a letter to Congress in support of S. 1553 and H.R. 4922, Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act. Fentanyl is currently a Schedule II controlled substance and when used as prescribed by a doctor, can be a safe painkiller. However, outside of careful supervision, fentanyl and analogues manufactured illicitly can be lethal.

The SOFA Act, if passed by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, would eliminate the current loophole which keeps the controlled substance scheduling system one step behind those who manufacture fentanyl analogues and then introduce these powders into the opioid supply. The SOFA Act utilizes catch-all language which will allow the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to proactively schedule all newly-modified fentanyl analogues. 

“We must end the opioid epidemic that plagues Missouri,” Hawley said. “Congress must pass this legislation and close this dangerous loophole.”

Attorney General Hawley is leading the fight against opioid manufacturers and distributors. In June 2017, he filed a lawsuit against three major opioid manufacturers alleging these companies fraudulently misrepresented the serious risks posed by the drugs they manufacture and sell. That investigation has been expanded to include seven additional manufacturers. The Attorney General is also investigating opioid distributors and their role in the ongoing opioid crisis in Missouri. 

In addition to Missouri, Connecticut and Wisconsin, the other attorneys general who signed the letter were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.