PA: Carfentanil added to Schedule II controlled substance list

North Central PA News –

Harrisburg, Pa. – Governor Tom Wolf has approved Rep. Clint Owlett’s bill (House Bill 616; Act 117 of 2020) adding the drug carfentanil to Pennsylvania’s list of Schedule II controlled substances. Being on the list restricts availability of the drug and makes it illegal to possess or distribute it without a license or prescription.

“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,” Owlett said. “Restricting access to this dangerous drug will help keep it out of our communities and, more importantly, prevent it from taking precious lives.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that carfentanil is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl. The drug is typically used as a tranquilizer for large animals like elephants. It is not safe for human use; even a tiny dose can be lethal.

Carfentanil comes in several forms including powder, blotter paper, tablets, patches, and sprays. It can be absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled. When handling the drug, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recommends using a respirator.

Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine placed carfentanil on the Schedule II list as a temporary emergency measure using her emergency authority, but it was generally agreed-upon by state legislators that the listing should be permanent.

“I’d like to thank my predecessor, Rep. Matt Baker, for initially proposing this legislation,” Owlett said. “I’m pleased to help finish the good work he started.”

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