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House Bill 004 — Controlled substances

House Bill 004 — Controlled substances

Parrish Miller
January 24, 2023

Bill Description: House Bill 4 would add prohibitions to Idaho statute based solely on the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's decisions about controlled substances.

Rating: -1

Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

House Bill 4 would amend three sections of Idaho code related to controlled substances by adding a dozen new substances to schedules I, IV, and V. Substances added to these schedules are strictly controlled and violators face severe penalties, including prison time.

Prohibiting individuals from using or (or even studying) substances is no small matter, and imposing prison time for non-compliance is a significant policy that should be adopted only in cases where there is a compelling government interest in restricting access to a given substance.

The most fundamental problem with House Bill 4 is that no one in Idaho has independently researched the substances being added to the controlled substances list or independently determined that they are harmful. They are proposed to be added because that is what the federal government has done.

One substance that would be added to schedule 1 by this bill is "Etodesnitazene; Etazene (2-(2-(4-ethoxybenzyl)-1hbenzimidazol-1-yl)-N,N-diethylethan-1-amine)," yet research on this new synthetic opioid is minimal. WHO research found only three cases in which etazene was identified and in each case the data was inconclusive.

House Bill 4 wasn’t drafted to address a specific problem in Idaho. Rather it was written to conform Idaho law to the controlled substance scheduling decisions of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

Over the past three years, we have witnessed the federal government spread contradictory and inaccurate information regarding health and safety. We have seen questionable substances declared universally safe without sufficient testing, and we have seen proven medications maligned even when they have been proven effective. Given this history, it is unacceptable for the Idaho Legislature to rubber-stamp federal rules regarding health and safety without any independent or corroborating evidence of their accuracy or necessity.


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