CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey joined a bipartisan group of 52 state and territory attorneys general in calling upon Congress to help end the opioid epidemic and close a loophole that allows those who traffic deadly fentanyl to stay a step ahead of law enforcement.

 
The attorneys general sent a letter Wednesday to Congress in support of the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act. Fentanyl, currently a Schedule II controlled substance, can be a safe painkiller when used as prescribed by a doctor. However, outside of careful supervision, fentanyl and analogues manufactured illicitly can be lethal.
 
“Sadly, fentanyl and its analogues have made their way onto our streets with alarming regularity and overdose deaths related to fentanyl now surpass deaths related to heroin,” Attorney General Morrisey joined in writing. “The SOFA Act unplugs the entire fentanyl machine in the first instance by making fentanyl analogues illegal as soon they are manufactured, which occurs most often abroad in countries without adequate controls.”
 
The SOFA Act, if passed by the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, would eliminate the current loophole which keeps the controlled substance scheduling system one step behind those who manufacture fentanyl analogues and then introduce these powders into the opioid supply.
 
The SOFA Act utilizes catch-all language which will allow the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to proactively schedule all newly-modified fentanyl analogues.
 
West Virginia joined the Connecticut- and Wisconsin-led letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.