DEA cracking down on fake fentanyl traffickers

November 09, 2017 - 2:55 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is making it easier for federal prosecutors to go after people who create and peddle illicit versions of the deadly opioid fentanyl.

The agency said Thursday it is classifying drugs that are chemically similar to fentanyl as illegal controlled substances. That makes it easier for prosecutors to secure convictions against traffickers.

Officials say the move aims to stop the flow of fentanyl variants into the U.S. as the opioid abuse crisis rages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the drug and its analogues killed more than 20,000 Americans last year, and the number is rising.

The new classification will last two years.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the change empowers authorities "to take swift and necessary action against those spreading these deadly poisons."

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