Ensuring Access to Treatment, Penalties for those Peddling Dangerous Drugs are the Best Ways to Combat the Fentanyl Crisis

(WASHINGTON, DC) – With more than 150 Americans dying every day from synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, Foundation for Drug Policy Solutions (FDPS)President Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a founding board member of FDPS, released the following statement applauding President Biden for his support of the HALT Fentanyl Act (H.R. 467) and urging swift passage of the bill by Congress:

“Fentanyl is killing more than 150 Americans a day, leaving a trail of heartbreak and misery behind. Individuals with substance use disorder need treatment, and law enforcement needs the tools to combat the cartels who are making billions from this crisis.

“This bill has several good provisions, including permanently scheduling all fentanyl-related substances not otherwise scheduled into Schedule I, and it will expedite research into fentanyl-related substances. 

“Let’s be clear: the HALT Act isn’t going to create mass incarceration for those who use illicit substances. It will recognize fentanyl and its analogues as the dangerous substances they are. We applaud President Biden for his support of this critical legislation, and we urge Congress to act on the bill immediately.

“Some groups that oppose this legislation, like the Drug Policy Alliance and Better Organizing to Win Legalization have again demonstrated that they are extremists who are out of step with a Democratic administration, public health officials, and a bipartisan majority in Congress. Individuals with substance use disorder need treatment, and drug cartels who are responsible for fueling the overdose epidemic should be held accountable. It’s unfortunate that these opponents care more about normalizing drug use than about punishing the cartels and getting people the help they need.

“No piece of legislation is perfect. We are heartened by the fact that changes have been made to the bill to make researching these analogues easier. We urge lawmakers to pass this bill now and begin tackling the drug epidemic in meaningful ways.”