ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a measure last wek that will add 11 variations of the opioid drug fentanyl to the state's list of scheduled controlled substances.
The measure, via a 30-day budget budget amendment, will also give the state's health commissioner authority to add any new drug to the state's scheduled drug list, as long as that drug has been added to the federal scheduled drug list.
Authorities "schedule" drugs based on the medical or therapeutic uses and the potential for abuse or dependency. Illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine are Schedule I.
Cuomo's proposal would add the following drugs to Schedule I under New York's Public Health Law: AH-7921; acetyl fentanyl; butyryl fentanyl; beta-hydroxythiofentanyl; furanyl fentanyl; U-47700; acrylfentanyl (also known as acryloylfentanyl); N-(4-fluorophenyl)-N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl) isobutyramide; ortho fluorofentanyl; tetrahydrofuranyl fentanyl; and methoxyacetyl fentanyl.
In recent years, fentanyl and these variants have become more and more common in the illicit drug supply, whether mixed into heroin or cocaine, or pressed into pills and sold on the street as prescription opioids. The drugs are much more potent than heroin, and officials have linked their presence to a sharp rise in the numbers of overdose deaths locally, in New York and nationally.