As deaths from synthetic opioids rise nationwide, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is proposing legislation he argues will help prosecutors go after the people trafficking those drugs.
While Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are well known to law enforcement at this point, Johnson says a simple change in the drugs chemical composition can make it difficult to prosecute crimes involving its use. “Criminal chemists need only change one small piece to be one step ahead of the law,” he argues.
The Wisconsin Republican on Thursday introduced the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogs, or SOFA Act. The legislation would allow federal drug officials to quickly add new variations of Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to the list of Schedule 1 drugs, which are illegal to possess.
Deaths related to overdoses involving synthetic opioids have seen dramatic increases in recent years. Johnson says there was a 79 percent jump between 2013 and 2014, highlighting the dangers posed by the spread of the drugs.