June 14, 2018
I write to you today in opposition to H.R. 2851, the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues of 2017 (SITSA) Act.
R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization based out of Washington, D.C. We strive to promote free markets and effective government policies in many areas, including harm reduction.
My interest and efforts to promote reasonable policy relating to harm reduction are based on my scientific expertise in neural mechanisms of addiction and keen understanding of sound public policy and its ability to positively influence society. There has been a lot of progress made in understanding what biological factors lead to dependence and addiction and thus, how addiction can best be treated and managed.
Towards that end, harm reduction strategies and approaches that reduce demand can positively affect the health and welfare of people who use addictive substances. Approaches that restrict access or supply of substances are far less effective, which is why we write to you out of concern over the bill before you, H. R. 2851. While well-intentioned, the proposed bill is not sound public health policy.
- This bill would eliminate the requirement to consider the abuse potential of the drug
- This bill would not take into account the lethality of individual substances
- This bill has potential to create extreme punitive consequences for substances that may be unlikely to cause addiction
- Most importantly, practices that restrict access to chemicals simply drive the market to newer drug development, which negates any positive effect seen from original restriction. In addition, these newer drugs will have unknown characteristics and lethal potential.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Director of Harm Reduction Policy
R Street Institute