Pill molds used to produce illegal fentanyl covered by congressional legislation

WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation being pushed through both houses of Congress aims to stop the illegal production and trade of fentanyl by targeting the machines used to make the pills.

Templates for criminalizing substances of abuse or TO THROWThe bill would redefine the criminal penalty for manufacturing counterfeit drugs using a pill press. Counterfeiting medicines is already illegal, as described in Art Controlled Substances Act but the law does not provide for any punishment.

Under CAST, it would be illegal to possess a tablet compression mold for the purpose of producing Schedule I or II drugs, which would be a criminal offense punishable up to 20 years.

CAST was introduced in the House of Representatives Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Virginia, and David Kustoff, a Republican from Tennessee, in October 2019 and was reintroduced in March 2023.

The bill was strengthened earlier this month when Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. and Maggie Hassan, D.N.H. introduced him in the upper room.

Overdose and death

The bill specifically addresses the production and distribution of opioids, especially fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid with an incredibly high potency, approximately 100 times greater than morphine. As a result, it is often mixed with other drugs to escalate potency, sometimes in lethal doses.

The leading cause of opioid overdose is synthetic opioids. In 2020–2021, the number of deaths related to synthetic opioids, such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl Rose According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, by 55%.

The number of deaths related to opioid and other drug poisoning per 100,000 people is highest in West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Lawmakers attribute this escalate in fentanyl-related deaths to the counterfeit market and drug trade.

“The overdose crisis and the growing fentanyl scourge are undoubtedly worsening as a result of the increased use of illicit pill presses to produce counterfeit drugs,” Spanberger said in a statement about her legislation.

“By toughening penalties for drug traffickers who use illegal pill presses to produce drugs, our bipartisan legislation would empower our law enforcement officials to crack down on these criminals and prevent dangerous substances – like fentanyl – from being pressed into illegal pills and sold on the internet. our streets.”

Much of the illicit fentanyl sold in the U.S. contains at least a potentially lethal dose of 2 mg of fentanyl. The DEA study found that 42% of tablets tested contained this amount or more, some as much as 5.1 mg.

Lawmakers have said they want to give law enforcement officials the tools they need to stop the production and sale of these drugs.

“Increasing penalties for criminals who create counterfeit medicines could help remove them from the market,” Hassan said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will help provide law enforcement officials with the tools they need to crack down on criminals manufacturing counterfeit drugs.”

According to the DEA, because lethal doses of fentanyl are often mixed with other drugs, “it may be possible for someone to take a pill without knowing it contains fentanyl.” Cassidy said the CAST Act could prevent these deaths.

“No one should worry if their medications are counterfeit or contain fentanyl,” he said.

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