From Courthouse News Service
The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final order Friday placing an extremely potent street drug on the schedule of controlled substances after dozens of deaths.
, which the agency says is 15.7 times more potent than morphine and up to five times more powerful than heroin, is particularly dangerous because the range between the effective dose and the lethal dose is narrow.
The Center of Disease Control issued an alert on acetyl fentanyl in June 2013, after 14 deaths in Rhode Island were attributed to the drug over a three month period.
A total of 39 known deaths have been reported in Rhode Island, North Carolina, California, Louisiana, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
But the Drug Enforcement Administration says it is likely that emergency room admissions and deaths due to this drug are under-reported because "standard immunoassays cannot differentiate acetyl fentanyl from fentanyl."
Other "clandestinely produced fentanyl-like substances, commonly known as designer drugs
" have surfaced since the late 1970s and 1980s and been placed on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.
Due to the "imminent hazard to public safety," today's action by the DEA temporarily places the drug on Schedule 1 under the CSA, and it is effective immediately for up to two years, with a possible extension of one additional year, pending completion of the permanent scheduling process.