Owlett bill adds drug to controlled substances schedule, OKd by Wolf

A bill sponsored by an area lawmaker to address the opioid epidemic was recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

State Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Wellsboro, said House Bill 616 places the drug carfentanil on the list of Schedule II controlled substances, a designation restricting its availability and making it illegal to be possessed or distributed without a license or prescription.

“The best way to combat opioid abuse is to stop it before it starts, and that’s what we are aiming to do with this new law,” Owlett said. “Restricting access to this dangerous drug will help keep it out of our communities and, more importantly, prevent it from taking precious lives.”

Carfentanil, commonly used as a tranquillizer for large animals, such as elephants, is considered unsafe for human use.

The drug is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It goes to show just how dangerous it is,” Owlett said.

The lawmaker noted the opioid problem continues to be a scourge in many communities.

The new law, first proposed by his predecessor, longtime Republican lawmaker Matt Baker, is only a small part of what should be done in the battle against drugs.

“It’s not the be-all, end-all in the fight,” he said. “It’s a tool in the toolbox for law enforcement.”

Owlett said the drug problem requires enforcement, diligence, education, and extending help to the addicted.

“If you need help, reach out,” he said.

He urged those who know of anyone struggling with an addiction to do what is needed to help.


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