America’s war on drugs could get even more difficult this week, including in Missouri. Unless Congress takes action, a federal law will expire that allows law enforcement officers to go after criminals trafficking any drugs with fentanyl. Butler County Prosecutor Kacey Proctor tells KFVS-TV in southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau that he wants Congress to renew the “Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues” law.

Missouri law enforcement could lose tools in their drug enforcement toolbox this week

“Otherwise, the criminals could just change the substance ever so slightly and then all of the sudden fentanyl is no longer illegal,” says Proctor.

Fentanyl is a powerful and highly-addictive painkiller often found in heroin and many times leads to overdoses.

Special Agent William Callahan of the St. Louis division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, says without the law, it’s like losing your tools out of a toolbox.

“Anything that is taken out of our toolbox makes our job just a little more difficult. I think where it will make it for us is being able to arrest and prosecute traffickers who are changing up the analogues of fentanyl,” he says.

Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley says the law helps to reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths.

“We are going to hone down and find them,” said Whiteley.

Whiteley will be southeast Missouri Congressman Jason Smith’s guest at the president’s State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday.

Story courtesy of Missourinet television partner KFVS in Cape Girardeau