132 Dems vote against HALT Fentanyl Act, including Maryland’s David Trone

25 May 2023- Although passing along bipartisan lines, 132 Democrats in the US House of Representatives voted against the HALT Fentanyl Act, a bill that would classify fentanyl as a schedule I drug. Congressman David Trone, one of the 132 Democrats who voted against the act, said that he was against the increased mandatory minimums in the bill. He released the following statement:

“In 2016, I lost my 24-year-old nephew Ian to a fentanyl overdose. This fight is personal for me, as it is for over a million other families who have lost a loved one to drug overdoses since 1999. I have always supported the Biden-Harris Administration’s permanent fentanyl scheduling proposal that would protect civil rights and reduce barriers to scientific research. But the bill before us on the floor today falls short of effecting real, positive change to combat this epidemic.

“I know because I lived it: my nephew Ian fought addiction and mental health for much of his life. The criminal record he had as a result of this disease only made his road to recovery more difficult. Already, America is grappling with over-incarceration of nonviolent drug offenses. Americans fighting substance use disorder don’t need handcuffs, they need a helping hand. They need treatment.

“We know mass incarceration and harsh mandatory minimum sentences just don’t work to solve the drug crisis. We already tried in the ‘90s and have nothing to show for it but generations of men and women – disproportionately people of color – lost to over-imprisonment.

“It’s time we learned from our mistakes and broke the cycle. This bill doesn’t come close. Plain and simple. It’s a “no” from me because we can and must do better.”