BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – While the state is working to address the fentanyl crisis, Louisiana’s Sen. Bill Cassidy has legislation moving through Congress to help crack down on the deadly drug.
From Aug. 2021-Aug. 2022, over 100,000 Americans died from drug poisonings, with the majority being fentanyl-related. Cassidy hopes The Halt Lethal Trafficking Fentanyl Act will be another tool for law enforcement to catch fentanyl and related drugs from coming into the country by keeping them as Schedule I drugs. Currently, it is under a temporary designation that would end in 2024.
“This won’t be the end of the fentanyl scourge. There’s no silver bullet. But this is a silver buckshot,” Cassidy said. “And this is one of the buckshot that can help give our law enforcement another tool to help stop the scourge of fentanyl.”
Cassidy said the bill would help border agents who come across drugs that are very similar to fentanyl and be able to prosecute them as a Schedule I drug.
“The point is that by making it almost fentanyl, it wasn’t illegal. You could say it wasn’t fentanyl. It was almost. Now if it’s almost fentanyl, you’re going to jail,” Cassidy said.
The legislation would also bolster research by creating exemptions for researchers to use the drug in their studies.
The bill, co-authored by two other Republican Senators, gained the support of the White House and passed bipartisan out of the House. It now heads to the Senate for the next round of debate.