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Experts Want To Reclassify Fentanyl Substances To Promote Research

More than 100 researchers, scientists and public health professionals want fentanyl-related substances no longer to be Schedule I drugs , saying a different classification has the potential to unlock research for more drugs to treat opioid addiction, Politico reports. The experts outlined their concerns in a letter Tuesday to the White House along with leaders at the Justice Department, Health and Human Services Department and Drug Enforcement Administration. They ask the administration to overturn a temporary Trump-era decision to tightly restrict all substances related to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. The group says some fentanyl-related substances could have therapeutic uses and should not carry severe prison sentences.

Restrictions for Schedule I drugs make them difficult to research. The letter’s authors said those barriers would likely hinder efforts to stop the opioid epidemic. “By making permanent the temporary classwide scheduling of [fentanyl-related substances], Congress may inadvertently criminalize therapeutic medications similar to naloxone and other life-saving medications at a time when the U.S. is facing [a] record number of overdose deaths,” the letter says. This year, lawmakers led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) asked the administration in a letter to consider the possible therapeutic uses for the class of drugs before making permanent the Schedule I categorization. The push to lessen regulations on fentanyl-related substances comes with the hope it will help create more drugs like buprenorphine, used to curb opioid deaths.


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