The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has scarcely announced that illegal types of synthetic opioid fentanyl would now be classified alongside the same level as heroin. Apparently, this strategic move would help the agency to prosecute any individual who possesses, manufactures, or distributes any type of the drug. As per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), opioids had caused nearly 33,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2015. Medical research, as a matter of fact, has proved that the product is more hazardous than morphine and heroin. The drug regulatory enforcement agency in the U.S. has classified drugs into Schedule II and Schedule I drugs, with the former used for medical purpose and the latter having no medicinal value.
Reliable sources have stated that the DEA has issued a new order according to which any alternate types of fentanyl will be classified under Schedule I. The U.S. authorities have observed that many versions of fentanyl analogues have entered the U.S drug market during recent times, with a major portion of them being imported from China. The chemical structure of these drugs coincides with fentanyl and they might prove to be as hazardous as fentanyl itself, cite sources. Chemists however, seem to have found a way out to tweak the molecular structure of these drugs to avoid their classification as illicit drugs under Schedule I.
It has been found that though the authorities can prosecute individuals for producing or selling fentanyl analogues not listed on DEA schedule, it is necessary to justify that these drugs have the same structure as other scheduled drugs and can similarly affect the human health. Medical experts have claimed that the new emergency scheduling of fentanyl is temporary and the DEA can implement such measures to address the safety issues of the public. It is anticipated that the scheduling will continue for two years and can further be extended by a year as well.