Analysis, Commentary

Damaging Drug War Bill Excluded From Congressional Opioid Package


SITSA Would Have Given Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department Broad Powers to Ban Any Drug They Want and Enact Draconian New Criminal Penalties; Bill Passed the House, But Its Exclusion is a Victory for Health-Based Approaches to Drug Policy

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—September 27, 2018
Contact: Tony Newman

Late last night, the final text for the Congressional opioid package was released. SITSA – a sweeping bill expanding penalties on synthetic drugs and the broader war on drugs – passed the House in July, and was expected to be included in the final bill. But a coalition of drug policy and criminal justice reform groups managed to push back against its inclusion, successfully keeping it out of the bill.

Here is a statement from Michael Collins, interim director at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs:

“This is a huge win for public health over outdated drug war approaches. The bill would have expanded mass incarceration, while worsening the overdose crisis. It would have given Jeff Sessions unprecedented powers to schedule drugs and set draconian new criminal penalties. To pull this back from the brink after it easily passed the House only two months ago is a tremendous victory.”

Related Material:

Washington Post

Obscure provision in House opioids’ bill could restart war on drugs, By: Colby Itkowitz, September 19, 2018

National Public Radio: All Things Considered

Lawmakers Consider Tough New Penalties For Opioid Crimes, Bucking Trend, June 6, 2017

Drug Policy Alliance Blog

Congress Is Trying to Make It Easier for Jeff Sessions and the DEA to Outlaw Any Drug They Want, By: Stefanie Jones, June 14, 2018