Press Release

As Nation Reckons with Racial Injustice & Over-Policing of Black, Latinx & Indigenous Communities, Congress Doubles Down on Tough-on-Crime Drug War Policies of the Past

Extension of Trump-Era Class-Wide Fentanyl Ban Risks Recreating Same Harms & Racial Injustices—Informed by Fear & Mythology, Rather than Science—of 1980s Crack-Cocaine Hysteria for Fentanyl 

Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

Washington, D.C.—In response to the House passing a five-month extension of the Trump Administration’s temporary class-wide emergency scheduling of fentanyl-related substances, Grant Smith, Deputy Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:

"It’s incomprehensible how reckless Congress and the Biden Administration are being in recreating the harms of the past, when it comes to fentanyl.

After a heart-wrenching trial, in which the defense repeatedly attempted to use drugs as a cover for state violence, and a year of outcries for serious criminal justice reform, the first thing Congress should be addressing is a complete overhaul of policing in this country, not extending harmful Trump-era punitive drug policies.

But instead, not even a day later, the House has chosen to double down on the same type of tough-on-crime drug war policies of the 1980’s crack cocaine hysteria that devastated entire generations of Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities with over-policing and incredibly severe mandatory minimum sentences — this time for fentanyl. Make no mistake, this extension will increase these racial disparities, and from what we have seen so far, it already has. 

We implore the Senate to think twice before legislating off of hysteria and fear, and instead, see this for what it is – a public health issue that demands a public health solution.”

Criminal Justice Reform