WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) to help ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to curb the opioid epidemic and better target fentanyl analogues, which contribute to the substance misuse epidemic in New Hampshire and across the country.

“I am pleased that the president signed this bipartisan legislation into law so that law enforcement can continue to crack down on fentanyl-related substances, which are just as deadly as pure fentanyl,” Hassan said. “I will continue working across the aisle to ensure that those on the front lines of this crisis have the tools that they need to effectively turn the tide of this epidemic and protect our communities.”

While existing laws prohibit the sale, consumption and manufacturing of certain controlled substances, illicit drug makers and importers circumvent those laws by altering a single atom or molecule of an already-controlled drug to create a new, yet significantly similar substance — which in turn can make it harder to crack down on those drugs.

The bipartisan Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act, introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), gives law enforcement, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice, more flexibility to go after fentanyl-related substances by extending the designation of fentanyl analogues as Schedule I drugs for 15 months.

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