WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — Congressman David Valadao is joining other House representatives urging President Joe Biden to permanently classify fentanyl as a Schedule I drug before the classification expires Friday.
Valadao, along with Wisconsin Congressman Bryan Steil and one hundred fifteen others, drafted a 10-page letter to the president citing the staggering rates of fentanyl overdoses in the country.
Valadao wrote in part "the opioid epidemic in America continues to harm communities and families across the nation, especially here in the Central Valley. It is important law enforcement is able to properly combat this crisis."
In 2021, fentanyl became the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45.
Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise in Kern County as well. Just last month, two infants overdosed on the substance which Bakersfield police Sergeant Robert Pair said was "alarming."
Pair believes the increase in overdoses is due to how easy it can be to access the drug.s
What is fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl is also diverted for abuse. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency, or be disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing heroin and actually don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl – which often results in overdose deaths. Clandestinely-produced fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico.
Street Names: Apace, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison and Tango & Cash,
How does it affect the body?
Similar to other opioid analgesics, Fentanyl produces effects such as relaxation, euphoria, pain relief, sedation, confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, pupillary constriction, and respiratory depression.
What are Drug Schedules?
Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.
What is a Schedule I drug?
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.