ACLU Statement on Congressional Vote to Reauthorize DEA Fentanyl Scheduling Authority

January 22, 2020 8:45 am

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WASHINGTON — The Senate has passed and sent to the House the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act, legislation that extends the Drug Enforcement Agency’s temporary order making fentanyl-related substances Schedule I.

Kanya Bennett, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Political Advocacy Department, highlighted how passage of the legislation will disproportionately impact Black and brown communities:

“Just a year after the enactment of the First Step Act, Congress is falling back into the bad habits that say criminalization and incarceration is the way out of the opioid crisis. We only have to look back to the ’90s to see that these tough on crime policies don’t work.

“Seventy-five percent of those sentenced in fentanyl cases are people of color, which means Black and brown communities stand to lose the most under the policies Congress is currently advancing. It’s up to the House to take legitimate steps to address this public health crisis and ensure that we don’t fall back into the mandatory minimums and other trappings of the failed drug war.”

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