This bill — the SITSA Act — would create a new Schedule A to the Controlled Substances Act’s five existing schedules to create a mechanism for adding synthetic analogues for illegal drugs to the list of banned substances. It would also add 13 synthetic fentanyls — a form of opioid used as a pain medication — to Schedule A and establish penalties for the unlawful distribution, importation, or export of the drugs.
Penalties for a first offense involving distribution would be up to 10 years imprisonment plus fines of up to $500,000, or 15 years if death or serious injury results from the drug’s use. An offense with a prior felony drug conviction would carry a sentence of up to 20 years plus fines of up to $1 million, or 30 years in cases of death or serious injury. Sentences would include at least two years of supervised release for first-time offenders, while that would be increased to at least four years for repeat offenders.
A first offense involving the import or export of such substances would be punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, or up to life imprisonment in cases of death or serious injury. If a violation follows a prior felony drug conviction the penalty would be up to 30 years imprisonment, or up to life imprisonment in cases of death or serious injury. Sentences would include at least three years of supervised release for first-time offenders, while that would be increased to at least six years for repeat offenders.
Individuals who wish to handle the substances (like researchers or chemists) would have to register with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and pay a fee. Revenue from fees would go toward covering the cost of overseeing those who register.
The bill’s full title is the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017.