New Pennsylvania law adds carfentanil to controlled substance list

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law Act 117 of 2020 that adds carfentanil to the list of Schedule II controlled substances.

Addition to the list means the drug is illegal to possess or distribute without a license or prescription.

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A minimal amount can be lethal because the drug is a tranquilizer for large animals.

The drug can be accidentally inhaled or purposefully absorbed through the skin. It can be found in spray form, as tablets, a patch, powder, or blotter paper.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, when handling the drug, first responders should have respirators available.

Before the passage of the law, state Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine added carfentanil temporarily on the Schedule II list using emergency authority created under Act 37 of 2016.

“The best way to combat opioid abuse is to stop it before it starts, and that’s what we are aiming to do with this new law,” state Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/ Bradford/Potter), who introduced House Bill 616, the bill that became Act 117, said. “Restricting access to this dangerous drug will help keep it out of our communities and, more importantly, prevent it from taking precious lives.”

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