McMorris Rodgers Bill to Combat Fentanyl Crisis Passes House

The House of Representatives today passed the HALT Fentanyl Act (H.R. 467) with bipartisan support by a vote of 289-133. This legislation that Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) championed as Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will permanently schedule fentanyl related substances under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and ensure law enforcement has the tools they need to keep these extremely lethal and dangerous drugs off the streets of Eastern Washington.

Please see below for Cathy’s statement, a clip of her remarks on the House Floor, and some recent statistics about the nationwide fentanyl crisis.

THE HALT FENTANYL ACT:

  • Prevents many fentanyl-related substances from becoming street-legal.
  • Ensures law enforcement has the authority to seize these extremely lethal drugs.
  • Keeps these deadly drugs off our streets by eliminating drug traffickers’ ability to skirt federal law by changing as little as one molecule in the fentanyl formula to create legal variations. 
  • Protects U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s authority to seize these substances crossing the border.

WASHINGTON STATE STATISTICS

  • In Washington state, overdose deaths have increased by more than 108 percent according to the CDC, which is the second largest increase in the United States.
  • In February 2022, Spokane Police Department took 40,000 fentanyl pills off the streets in a single bust.
  • In March 2022, Spokane County was designated by federal law enforcement as 1 of 11 crisis spots for fentanyl addiction after seizures increased 1,100%.
  • In King County, illicit fentanyl kills at least two people every day and has become an urgent public health crisis.
  • In case you missed it earlier this year, Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels testified before the committee about the importance of this legislation and the challenges law enforcement in Eastern Washington is facing curbing the fentanyl crisis.

THE NATIONWIDE CRISIS

FACES OF THE FENTANYL CRISIS
Earlier this year, Cathy welcomed Molly Cain, a parent advocate from Spokane, before the committee to share her powerful testimony on how fentanyl can tear families apart. In 2020, Molly’s 23-year old son Carson died of fentanyl poisoning after purchasing a fentanyl-laced pill he thought was Xanax on Snapchat. 

Molly is not alone. An army of parents are calling on Congress to take action and permanently place fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. They are parents who deserve justice because they’ve lost a child. They don’t want anyone else to experience their pain. These are their stories.

THE BOTTOM LINE
By passing the HALT Fentanyl Act today, Cathy and the House of Representatives are sending a clear message that it’s time to turn the tide on this crisis that is devastating communities in Washington state and across the nation. While more work needs to be done, permanently scheduling fentanyl-related substances and giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep Americans safe is a critical step in the right direction.

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