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Gov. Cuomo again calls for closing fentanyl loophole

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his State of

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo delivers his State of the State address in Albany on Jan. 3, 2018. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo again has proposed adding more versions of fentanyl to the state’s list of controlled substances, as a potential way to close a loophole that currently allows sellers to avoid stiffer sentences.

Cuomo, a Democrat who has said he intends to run for re-election this year, proposed adding 11 “analogs” (the drug with some mixtures) of fentanyl to the state’s controlled substances schedule. On Monday, he offered the proposal as an amendment to his state budget plan, which legislators are supposed to act on by April 1.

Cuomo had a similar proposal last fall.

If approved, the change would increase the number of fentanyl varieties that trigger top felony charges.

“Make no mistake: Fentanyl is potent, dangerous and its abuse is increasingly fueling the misery of the opioid epidemic,” Cuomo said in a statement Monday.

Last fall, Suffolk County police officials told Newsday that dealers were using “analogs” as a way to skirt the law because even if caught, the sellers faced softer penalties when peddling the derivatives. They had urged the state to add the analogs to the list of controlled substances.

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