WASHINGTON – In response to today’s vote in the House to pass a Senate-approved bill that would temporarily extend the DEA’s “class-wide” emergency scheduling of fentanyl-related substances and expose more people to harsh mandatory minimum sentences, Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
“Approving the extension is a slippery slope towards repeating the mistakes of the past. For policymakers not to see the parallels between this and previous drug war hysterias, and instead make a misinformed exception for fentanyl, is deeply concerning. Like then, the consequences of today’s vote will disproportionately fall on the backs of people of color and individuals at the lower levels of drug distribution chains.
These are complicated public health challenges that cannot be resolved with a one-size-fits-all solution, especially not a punitive one that has been shown time and time again to only exacerbate the problems associated with drug use. Instead, we need to redouble our efforts on improving access to evidence-based, health-centered alternatives like methadone and buprenorphine treatment, naloxone and other harm reduction interventions that are proven to directly reduce overdose deaths.”Print