Senator Lankford Cosponsors Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today announced his cosponsorship of the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act. This bill would give law enforcement enhanced tools to combat the opioid epidemic and close a loophole in current law that makes it difficult to prosecute crimes involving some synthetic opioids.
“Oklahomans are tragically aware of the devastating ways the opioid epidemic has affected our families and our communities,” said Lankford. “Drug abuse and addiction do not discriminate; they permeate communities throughout our state. Oklahoma law enforcement are required to continually evolve to keep up with the ruthless pursuits of drug dealers who want to sell their deadly products. Cunning drug dealers are exploiting a loophole in the law that prohibits the production, sale, and use of illicit fentanyl by creating fentanyl analogues or substitutes. The SOFA Act closes that loophole and enables states and localities to effectively prosecute these crimes.”
The SOFA Act was introduced by Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA). The bill would:
- Close a loophole in current law by immediately scheduling particular fentanyl analogues known in our communities under Schedule I; and
- Provide the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) additional tools to quickly schedule other dangerous fentanyl analogues as they are identified.
SOFA stands for Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues and is the same acronym as an organization started by Lauri Badura of Oconomowoc, WI. Lauri lost her son, Archie, to an overdose on May 15, 2014, and has worked to raise awareness throughout Wisconsin on the dangers of drug addiction.
Lankford remains actively engaged in the national conversation that continues to impact Oklahoma and the nation. In 2017, following the White House declaration of a national emergency for the opioid crisis in October 2017, the Senate approved an additional $3.7 billion for cracking down on opioid abuse. Lankford also appeared in a documentary called, Killing Pain, focused on the impact of the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. In 2018, Lankford supported the passage of H.R. 6, the Opioid Crisis Response Act.
In a Senate Finance Committee hearing on April 11, 2019, Lankford questioned the Director of the National Institutes of Health about the timeline for opioid alternatives to get to market for patients with chronic pain if over-the-counter medicines in lieu of opioids will not sufficiently manage their pain. In June, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Carroll traveled to Oklahoma to hear first-hand about our state’s work to interdict drugs and help families walk through drug addiction. In August, Lankford also applauded Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s work to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. In November Lankford appeared in Facebook and Instagram public service ads across Oklahoma warning of the dangers of opioids and encouraging people to get treatment.