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Bilirakis Praises Temporary Extension of Fentanyl Ban- Vows to Keep Fighting for Permanent Ban

April 21, 2021
Press Release

 

Bilirakis Praises Temporary Extension of Fentanyl Ban- Vows to Keep Fighting for Permanent Ban

Washington, DC:  Representative Gus Bilirakis spoke on the House Floor today to highlight the extreme toll the addiction crisis is having on the communities he represents, citing that 48 people in one county in his district alone have died since January of 2021 from a drug overdose.  Bilirakis fears that this problem will only be worsened if Congress allows the current ban on fentanyl-related substances to expire on May 6, 2021.  Prior to the ban, drug traffickers would slightly change the molecules of the drug formula before selling it on the streets.  The altered drug was still highly potent but wasn’t technically considered fentanyl.  This routine practice made prosecution of fentanyl trafficking cases very difficult until fentanyl-like drugs were included in the national ban.  Following his remarks, the House took action to pass H.R. 2630 which will temporarily extend the current ban until September of 2021.  Bilirakis is one of only 4 original bipartisan cosponsors of H.R. 2630.          

It is shocking that so many members of our community have been lost since January.  We know a significant number of those deaths were related to the presence of fentanyl,” said Bilirakis. “If the current ban expires, we can expect more dangerous drugs will flood our streets and more people will die.  While I am a strong proponent of a permanent ban, we simply cannot allow the current ban to lapse, even for a short period of time.  I was honored to work with my colleague, Representative Pappas, to pass a temporary fix, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to find a bipartisan, long-term solution that will permanently ban fentanyl-related substances.”

Congressman Bilirakis is a co-sponsor of the FIGHT Fentanyl Act (H.R. 1910), which would permanently extend this ban.