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Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:24PM - 168 Views

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FRANK LEWIS


PDT Staff Writer


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is urging conferees who are reconciling the House and Senate versions of Food and Drug Administration reform legislation to include language he authored to fight synthetic drug abuse to stay in their final conference report.


“The popularity of synthetic drugs has exploded in recent years, and they have remained relatively easy to purchase. The latest Monitoring the Future Survey indicates that one in nine high school seniors have used synthetic drugs in the past year,” Portman said in a joint letter with Senate colleagues to the conferees. “We believe it is vital that Congress step in to ensure that these substances are banned at the federal level. This will allow the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prevent these drugs from being distributed throughout or imported into the United States, and instead provide DEA with the authority to pursue the manufacturers of these drugs across state lines.”


Last month, Portman introduced legislation that changes the Controlled Substance Act to include synthetic drugs, something Portman says is an important step in combating the growing epidemic of designer drug abuse. Synthetic drugs, which are chemically produced in laboratories and cause unpredictable side effects in humans, have dramatically increased in usage over the last three years.


Portman says adding those drugs to the Controlled Substance Act is the first step in making those drugs illegal and cracking down on those involved in synthetic drug production and distribution. The amendment is based on S.3190, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.


In a letter to the leaders in both houses, Portman wrote: “The harmful impacts of these drugs have been recognized around the world, and countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Israel have acted quickly to ban these substances. Similarly, many states in the U.S. are beginning to ban the sale of these chemicals within their jurisdictions. We believe it is vital that Congress step in to ensure that these substances are banned at the federal level. This will allow the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to prevent these drugs from being distributed throughout or imported into the United States, and instead provide DEA with the authority to pursue the manufacturers of these drugs across state lines.”


The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act would place 28 synthetic substances on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, which would make the sale and possession of these substances illegal except for qualified researchers. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the DEA, these substances have no known medicinal qualities and are extremely dangerous. The bill is supported by the American Medical Association, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Administration.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.


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