90 deaths to date: AG Schimel joins 52 others, submitting letter to Congress to close fentanyl loophole

MADISON — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has joined 52 other attorneys general, submitting a letter to Congress, urging the passage of legislation aimed at closing a loophole that has allowed those who traffic deadly fentanyl to stay a step ahead of law enforcement.

The legislation is called the “Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act.”

“A small amount of fentanyl has the ability to cause great harm, even to unsuspecting people like children and first responders at overdose scenes. Attorneys general in all 50 states agree — passing the SOFA Act in Congress is vital to the front line law enforcement fighting the opioid epidemic every day,” said Schimel in a news release.

Led Schimel and George Jepsen of Connecticut, the attorneys general from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico sent the letter to Congress on Thursday, Aug. 23.

The SOFA legislation was authored by Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

“The scourge of addiction and overdose deaths has devastated thousands of American families, including my own. The widespread introduction of fentanyl and its analogues into illicit drug markets has resulted in skyrocketing overdose rates throughout the country. The SOFA Act will give law enforcement important new tools to curb the supply of illicit fentanyl and close legal loopholes that have allowed criminal drug manufacturers and traffickers to stay one step ahead of the law. I appreciate the support of Attorney General Schimel and such a broad bipartisan collection of attorneys general for this important bill. I join them in urging Congressional leadership to pass the SOFA Act as soon as possible,” said Senator Johnson in the release.

“Combating the newest front in the opioid crisis — fentanyl and its analogues — will require an all-hands-on-deck effort and passing the SOFA Act is an essential piece of the puzzle. I’m extremely grateful to Attorney General Schimel for his leadership on this effort,” said Sensenbrenner in the release.

Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance, and when used as prescribed by a doctor, can be a safe painkiller. However, outside of careful supervision, fentanyl and any analogues that are manufactured illicitly, can be lethal.

According to the release, the SOFA Act would eliminate the loophole that keeps the controlled substance scheduling system one step behind those who manufacture fentanyl analogues and then introduce them into the opioid supply. The SOFA Act utilizes catch-all language which will allow the DEA to proactively schedule all newly-modified fentanyl analogues.

CLICK HERE to view the letter submitted to Congress.