Drug policy coalition urges US Congress to oppose inclusion of the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Scheduled Analogues (SITSA) (H.R. 2851/S. 1327) act in the House (H.R. 6) and Senate Opioid Package (S. 2680)

*excerpt from full letter

Those on both sides of the political spectrum recognize the damaging impact that SITSA could have should it pass, and wish to see drug policies that are health-centered … SITSA would give the Jeff Sessions virtually unlimited authority to create new drug crimes that carry lengthy, expensive prison sentences … SITSA would grant the attorney general – an unelected government actor – the ability to schedule drugs without oversight from medical professionals while consequently undermining Congress’ responsibility to create criminal law. 

Deciding what is a crime and how it should be punished is Congress’s duty and should not be delegated to an unelected executive branch official. While the attorney general may currently schedule substances, the power to do so is carefully constrained. Currently, the DOJ must obtain the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) approval for scheduling a drug. This is reasonable, as HHS’s drug experts offer informed and data-driven opinions as to which substances belong on each drug schedule. Under SITSA, the Attorney General would be required to consider HHS comments only before permanently classifying substances. The proposed changes to the scheduling process under SITSA greatly threaten the American principles of balanced powers … SITSA would also overcriminalize synthetic drugs by penalizing individuals who lack any criminal intent. Under SITSA, individuals would face criminal charges and long sentences even if they did not know that they possessed or distributed a particular substance or that the substance had been scheduled, temporarily or permanently. 


American Civil Liberties Union 
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts 
Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition 
Due Process Institute 
Drug Policy Alliance 
Federal Public and Community Defenders 
Friends Committee on National Legislation 
Human Rights Watch 
Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition 
Justice Strategies 
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors 
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 
National Center for Lesbian Rights 
National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable 
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice 
North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition 
Open Aid Alliance 
Reframe Health and Justice 
R Street Institute 
Safer Foundation 
Students for Sensible Drug Policy 
The Sentencing Project 
Washington Office on Latin America

Original Article (Human Rights Watch):
Oppose Inclusion of SITSA
Artwork Fair Use: Stefano Bolognini

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