Rainbow fentanyl pills. (DEA photo)

Legislation co-sponsored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley that targets opioid overdoses, with a focus on rural areas, is headed to President Biden’s desk after winning final Congressional approval last week.

Grassley, a Republican, says the bill is the result of bipartisan cooperation in both chambers to tackle a national problem. Grassley says, “The bill will ensure rural communities with high levels of opioid overdoses have resources that they need to respond to this social problem.”

Counterfeit prescription pills laced with deadly fentanyl are contributing to historic drug overdose deaths in the U.S., Grassley says, including here in Iowa. Grassley says, “According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, over 80% of the overdose deaths in Iowa last year were fentanyl-related.” A state report shows 470 lives were lost to drug overdoses in Iowa last year, while among Iowans age 25 and younger, overdose deaths have surged 120% in recent years.

Grassley says President Biden will, “without a doubt,” sign the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act into law, but he says another key bill is mired by partisan bickering. “Fentanyl coming into the country is a criminal act. Congress needs to extend the authority designating fentanyl-related substances as a Schedule One drug,” Grassley says. “I tried to extend this authority in March but Democrats blocked it.”

He blames Democrats for the “open southern border” and allowing a “flood” of dangerous drugs into the U-S. That second bill would permanently schedule all fentanyl knock-offs, preventing criminals from tweaking the formula slightly to skirt the law.

Radio Iowa