Public Health Approach Desperately Needed in Drug Crisis, Congress Must Stop Extending Punitive Policies 

Contact: Janessa Sambola-Harris, [email protected] 

WASHINGTONWade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement regarding the Senate’s passage of the Extending Temporary Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act:

“The Senate’s ill-advised vote today to extend the previous administration’s class-wide scheduling of fentanyl analogues, despite all research proving the harmful and racist impacts of such policies, is another example of using outdated punitive policy to address what is fundamentally a public health crisis. We desperately need restorative, public health-oriented policies that help, rather than criminalize, those struggling with substance abuse. We call on Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to work diligently to implement a public health approach to this crisis.”


  • The Leadership Conference called on the House and Senate to reject any policy that would compound urgent issues in our criminal-legal system that need to be transformed. The Leadership Conference previously joined more than 70 organizations opposing this class-wide scheduling policy.
  • A recent GAO report confirms that class-wide scheduling of fentanyl analogues further exacerbated mass incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal-legal system and tore apart families and communities. That report is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit