Sinema, Colleagues Pass Bill Targeting Opioid Traffickers, Producers

Law enforcement could soon have help getting dangerous and addictive new forms of drugs out of Arizona communities thanks to a new bill that passed the House this week. The bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09), helps to limit the ability of illegal drug producers and traffickers to skirt federal drug laws with so-called ‘synthetic analogues’ of controlled substances.

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

Traffickers can skirt drug laws by making small changes to the chemical composition of illegal drugs. These new synthetic analogues are just as deadly and addictive but are easier to bring into the country and distribute.

The Sinema-backed bill, the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act (SITSA), creates a new classification for synthetic analogues, Schedule A. The bill enables the Justice Department, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, to quickly add synthetic analogues of dangerous drugs like fentanyl to Schedule A if it meets criteria establishing the substance as similar in effect and composition to another already-regulated substance.

By making these new drugs controlled substances, SITSA helps law enforcement to step in and stop illegal opioid producers and traffickers. While the current process can take years to add a synthetic opioid to the DEA’s list of controlled substances, SITSA’s process could take as little as 30 days.