Bipartisan Bill Aims to Combat Increasing Use of Synthetic Drugs

A bipartisan group of U.S. representatives has introduced a bill designed to combat the increasing use of synthetic drugs, according to Roll Call. The bill would add more than 200 compounds to the list of Schedule I drugs, which are likely to be abused and have no medical uses.

The measure would also help prosecutors with cases involving drugs similar to those already classified as Schedule I substances, the article notes. The bill, called the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2015, was introduced by Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican from Pennsylvania.

Synthetic drugs are difficult to outlaw, because manufacturers often change the chemical compounds to stay one step ahead of regulations.

“These drugs are, in my judgment, more serious than the drugs that are on the Controlled Substance Act, more dangerous,” said bill co-sponsor Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents Washington, D.C. “These are right out in the open. They’re disguised in colored wrapping with snappy names to appeal to young people and children in particular. They are cheap. Much cheaper than the dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. They’re sold everywhere. And drugs that are sold everywhere are presumed to be safe. They are openly marketed as an alternative to dangerous drugs and they have bizarre effects.”

The bill is also co-sponsored by Representatives Jim Himes of Connecticut, a Democrat, and David Jolly of Florida, a Republican.

Dr. Alex Rosenau, Immediate Past President of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said his organization supports the bill. “Unapproved synthetic drugs are destroying lives every day in the USA,” he said in a news release. “With a wink and a nod, they are sold over the counter, claim to give users a good time, then destroy their lives, flood emergency rooms with critically sick kids, and tie up EMS and law enforcement resources.”