A bipartisan bill sponsored by New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer and Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley proposes a ban on almost two dozen substances currently used in synthetic drugs.
“Our bill cracks down on these dangerous substances by permanently controlling them under federal law,” Grassley said. “It’s an important first step to preventing further loss of innocent life to these dangerous and deceiving drugs.”
There were 130 suspected overdoses from synthetic drugs in New York recently. Schumer described it as “a scene from ‘The Walking Dead.’ But it was no TV set, it was real life.”
“We need a federal hammer to nail these toxic concoctions of synthetic drugs before things get worse,” said Schumer. “Banning these drugs quickly will help federal agents stem the tide of synthetic drug use in New York and across the country.”
According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the synthetic cannabinoid is often 100 times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
The proposed legislation would add almost two dozen chemicals to the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Drugs that have no currently accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse would now be banned. Fifteen synthetic cannabinoids are currently classified as Schedule 1.
A ban on these 22 chemicals is only the first step in an ongoing battle. Producers of synthetic weed exploit a legal loophole and drug test detection by change their chemical compounds frequently. Planning to provide legislation that will provide the Drug Enforcement Administration with broader authority to ban unlisted chemicals, Schumer said, “that will take a while. This [legislation] will ban the most dangerous ones right away.”
Schumer’s legislation also includes variants of the opioid fentanyl.