Bill targeting opioid traffickers, producers passes House

Jun 16, 2018, 2:34 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2018, 1:59 pm
(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)...
(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
(AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

PHOENIX – A bipartisan bill limiting the ability of drug traffickers and producers to work around federal drug laws has passed the House.

With Arizona Reps. Martha McSally (R) and Kyrsten Sinema (D) among its 75 co-sponsors, the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act (SITSA) creates a new classification — schedule A — for synthetic analogues in opioids.

According to a release, producers and traffickers of opioids are able to work around federal laws by changing the chemical composition of illegal drugs.

By doing so, it makes the narcotics appear as synthetic analogues to those that are already regulated, but remain just as dangerous.

“Too many Arizonans know the pain of losing a loved one, a neighbor, or a friend to an opioid overdose,” Sinema said in a release. “This bill helps build safer, healthier communities by giving law enforcement more tools to combat both producers and traffickers of dangerous, illegal drugs.”

The bill, sponsored by New York Republican John Katko, would enable the Justice Department and the Department of Health Services to quickly add synthetic analogues of dangerous opioids to schedule A if it meets the criteria.

Adding a synthetic analogue to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of controlled substance can typically take years to complete. With SITSA, however, the process could be diminished to as little as 30 days.

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Bill targeting opioid traffickers, producers passes House