WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa tonight received final legislative approval of his legislation to ban the chemicals used to make a dangerous synthetic drug called K2 or spice. The Senate gave final approval to the measure as part of a Food and Drug Administration bill, sending the measure to the President for his consideration and expected signature into law. Grassley’s measure is named for David Rozga, an 18-year-old Iowan who committed suicide shortly after trying the product, bought from a local store.
“This ban can’t come quickly enough,” Grassley said. “Just about every day, there’s a new tragedy related to K2 or bath salts. The sooner this poison is off the store shelves, the better. I hope the President will sign this measure into law very quickly.”
Grassley delivered a floor statement on his legislation this week. Click here for the video. The text follows.
Floor Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley
On Synthetic Drugs
Delivered Monday, June 25, 2012
Two years ago a constituent of mine named David Rozga committed suicide shortly after smoking a product called K2 — a synthetic form of marijuana. A week before he passed away, David graduated from Indianola High School. He was looking forward to attending my alma mater, the University of Northern Iowa, that fall. David and his friends spent the week after graduation going to parties and celebrating their achievements. Some of David’s friends heard about K2 from some other friends who were home from college. They were told that if you smoked this product like marijuana you could get a high. David and his friends were about to go to a concert and thought smoking K2 before would be nothing but harmless fun. However, shortly after smoking K2, David became highly agitated and terrified. His friends tried to calm him down and once he appeared calmer, he decided to go home instead of going out with them. Tragically, David took his own life shortly after returning home — only about 90 minutes after smoking K2 for the first time. The only chemicals in his system at the time of his death were those that constituted K2.
David’s tragic death is one of the first in what has been a rapidly growing drug abuse trend. In the past two years, the availability and popularity of synthetic drugs like K2, spice, bath salts, and 2C-E have exploded. These drugs are labeled and disguised as legitimate products to circumvent the law. They are easily purchased online, at gas stations, in shopping malls and in other novelty stores. Poison control centers and emergency rooms around the country are reporting skyrocketing cases of calls and visits resulting from synthetic drug use. The physical effects associated with this use include increased agitation, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures. A number of people across the country have acted violently while under the influence of the drug, dying or injuring themselves and others. Just a few weeks ago a man in Miami, Florida, attacked a homeless man and ate nearly half his face before police had to shoot him to stop him. Bath salts are suspected in that attack. Two weeks ago, police in upstate New York tasered a woman who was choking her three-year-old son after smoking bath salts.
These ongoing and mounting tragedies underscore the fact that Congress must take action to stop these drugs from causing further damage to our society. I introduced the David Mitchell Rozga Act a year ago last March to ban the drugs that constitute K2. My colleagues Sens. Schumer, Klobuchar, and Portman have also joined me to ban synthetic drugs including bath salts and 2-CE compounds. Today our separate bills are included as part of the House and Senate agreement on the Food and Drug Administration user fee bill we’ll be voting on shortly. I want to thank all who have worked very hard to get my bill, as well as the other bills banning synthetic drugs, through Congress. I especially want to thank Mike and Jan Rozga and their family for their tireless efforts to prevent more tragedy from befalling other families. This legislation will drastically help to remove these poisons from the store shelves and protect our children from becoming more victims. I urge my colleagues to support cloture on this bill and I yield the floor.