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Guthrie Works to Combat the Substance Use Disorder Crisis in U.S.

Washington, April 14, 2021 | S.K. Bowen (202-225-3501)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, is working to reverse the substance use disorder crisis in the United States.

Guthrie joined H.R. 1910, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting Fentanyl Act, to extend the fentanyl analogues ban permanently. Fentanyl and its analogues are synthetic opioids, and in 2018, synthetic opioids were involved in more than 740 deaths in Kentucky. If Congress does not act, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduling for fentanyl analogues expires on May 6, 2021.

The substance use disorder crisis has worsened due to COVID-19. The Health Subcommittee, which Guthrie serves as Republican Leader, had a hearing today to examine ways to combat the substance use disorder crisis in America. In this hearing, Guthrie highlighted that we have lost around half a million Americans due to the opioid crisis in the past two decades and how he wants to continue to address this crisis with bipartisan solutions.

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As Prepared for Delivery

“Synthetic opioids, which includes fentanyl analogues, were involved in 744 deaths in Kentucky in 2018.  Fentanyl analogues are very dangerous due to their potency and often come across our borders illegally only to harm Americans. Just last month, a two-year-old in Kentucky died from exposure of fentanyl. One health care provider group who treats patients with substance use disorders told my office that almost all their patients have some sort of fentanyl in their system, many of the patients are not aware themselves. I recently heard from another local health care provider in Kentucky who said it is almost rare to have an overdose case with a substance that is pure and does not also have traces of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This provider also shared that they have had certain individuals using substances in their own parking lot in case they overdose, or anything were to happen because they know the provider is equipped with Narcan. We must protect Americans from these harmful drugs that ruin lives and families.”


  • Without extending the fentanyl analogues ban, bad actors can create slightly different versions of fentanyl, called fentanyl analogues, to get around the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Schedule I ban.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s provisional data, Kentucky is reported to have 1,307 overdose deaths in August 2019 and 1,874 deaths in August 2020.
  • Guthrie has supported several expansive bills to combat the opioid crisis, including the 21st Century Cures Act, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.
  • Guthrie’s bill, the Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act, was signed into law and authorizes the creation of comprehensive opioid recovery centers.