Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley on Bipartisan Legislation to Help Fight Dangerous Synthetic Drugs

Jan 25, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Mark Warner (D-VA) have introduced bipartisan legislation to help fight synthetic drugs. The Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act would make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of “analogue” drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs. Current law makes it difficult to prosecute new synthetic drugs as analogues because they are often labeled “not intended for human consumption” despite their well-known use as recreational drugs with dangerous side effects. The SALTS Act would make it easier to prove that synthetic drugs are intended for human consumption and thus easier to prosecute.

“New synthetic drugs constantly come onto the market. We need to give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to combat them,” Klobuchar said. “This commonsense bipartisan legislation makes it easier to crack down on new synthetic drugs the minute they hit the market. It closes a loophole that allows drug dealers to skirt the law by pretending that these dangerous drugs are not intended for human consumption, when really they’re placing lives in danger every day.”

“Synthetic drugs pose a major threat to public health and are a growing problem for law enforcement agencies across the country,” Feinstein said. “This bill would ensure that criminals cannot continue to get away with distributing—often times to young people—falsely-labeled synthetic substances.”

“Labeling these products ‘not intended for human consumption’ is a cynical tactic from traffickers to escape prosecution,” Grassley said.  “These products are most definitely intended for human consumption.  They’re dangerous, and they can lead to death, as we’ve seen in my home state of Iowa.   Nothing like this should be available at the local convenience store or online where teen-agers might shop.  This bill helps makes clear that analogue drugs are as dangerous and as subject to prosecution as their counterparts.”  

"Synthetic drugs flood our communities and claim lives every day, and yet authorities can’t crack down on deceptive labeling practices that allow them to spread,” Whitehouse said. “This bill makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute those responsible for the sale of these harmful substances.”

“This commonsense bill would close a perilous loophole currently allowing manufacturers to pretend dangerous synthetic drugs are not intended for human consumption. In the face of tragedy and death caused by synthetic drugs, they are readily accessible at many corner stores and gas stations,” Blumenthal said. “We must act swiftly to stop this deadly sham and give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on synthetic drugs.”

“This bipartisan legislation is a positive step forward to give our law enforcement officials the tools they need to prosecute the sale and distribution of synthetic drugs,” Tillis said. “Any action to prevent the sale and consumption of illegal drugs or similar substances could potentially save countless lives, and I am proud to join this fight to stop the distribution of synthetic drugs and protect Americans from the dangerous side effects they produce.”

“We must provide law enforcement with the flexibility that’s needed to fight the rise of new and dangerous synthetic drugs, which are clearly distributed for no purpose other than human consumption,” Warner said. “This bipartisan bill takes quick steps to ensure that law enforcement has the tools needed to keep these ever-changing substances off the market, saving a countless number of lives in the process.”

The SALTS Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow for consideration of a number of factors when determining whether a controlled substance analogue was intended for human consumption, including the marketing, advertising, and labeling of a substance, and its known use. The bill also provides that evidence that a substance was not marketed, advertised, or labeled for human consumption, by itself, is not sufficient to establish that the substance was not intended for human consumption.

The legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National District Attorneys Association.

 

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