Summary: Parents of children lost to fentanyl poisoning are calling on Senator Cory Booker to end his longstanding blockade of bipartisan policy to control Fentanyl-Related Substances (FRS).
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 27, 2022). Parents of children lost to fentanyl poisoning are calling on Senator Cory Booker to end his longstanding blockade of bipartisan policy to control Fentanyl-Related Substances (FRS). Temporary scheduling of FRS is set to expire soon, and parents are sounding off on the lone holdout blocking the policy in open letters.
The parents shared their stories of loss and addressed the flawed and evolving arguments Senator Booker has given to justify his objections to FRS scheduling. The letters were collected by Victims of Illicit Drugs (VOID), a group dedicated bringing to the public’s attention, through education, awareness and legislative advocacy, the immediate danger of sudden death associated with the use of illicit drugs, in particular fentanyl, and other emerging synthetic analogs.
“Unlike your imagined defendant, my son was real,” wrote Jaime Puerta, President of VOID. “I am not the only parent who lost a child to fentanyl poisoning. Enclosed are letters from other parents who want you to know about their children. Like Daniel, they had hobbies and interests and families who miss them. These very real children deserve to have their interests placed above your made-up defendant. Please withdraw your objection to FRS scheduling.
Prosecuting fentanyl distributors has become increasingly difficult. Because fentanyl is made from chemicals, instead of plants, batches of the drug can be easily tweaked to create variations of fentanyl that technically fall outside of the Controlled Substance Act. Cartels are able to manufacture these variations faster than the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can schedule them. These variations are termed “FRS.” To solve this problem, the DEA temporarily scheduled FRS as schedule I controlled substances in 2017. After FRS scheduling went into effect law enforcement encounters of FRS plummeted. Congress later extended FRS scheduling multiple times, at times unanimously. But now, the provision is set to expire at the end of the year and it has one vocal objector: Senator Booker.
Senator Booker claims that FRS scheduling may cast too broad a net and capture individuals peddling substances that do not actually produce a “pharmacological effect.”
But parents aren’t buying Senator Booker’s objection for a simple reason: “drug use is driven by the pursuit of a pharmacological effect.” In response to Senator Booker’s hypothetical defendant, parents are writing Senator Booker about their very real children who died from fentanyl poisoning. They’re hoping their stories will educate Senator Booker about the realities of fentanyl poisoning so that he will withdraw his objection to FRS scheduling.