Sep 18 2018

Senate Passes Graham-Sponsored Bill To Fight Synthetic Drugs

WASHINGTON – Legislation led by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) – the Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act – passed the Senate.  The legislation was introduced by Graham along with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota).

The SALTS Act would make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of synthetic – also known as analogue – drugs, which are very similar to illegal drugs.  Current law makes it difficult to prosecute the sale and distribution of new synthetic drugs as analogues because they are often labeled as “not intended for human consumption” despite their well-known use as recreational drugs with dangerous side effects.

The SALTS Act would make it easier for prosecutors to prove that synthetic drugs are intended for human consumption.

“I’m very pleased to have worked with Senator Klobuchar on this important bill and I want to thank my colleagues for passing it through the Senate,” said Senator Graham. “Synthetic analogues are deadly, and we must continue to work together to ensure that these synthetic drugs are taken out of our communities.”

The SALTS Act would:

  • Amend 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.
  • Establish that simply because a substance was not marketed, advertised, or labeled for human consumption that does not mean sufficient notice was given that the substance was not intended for human consumption.

In addition to the SALTS Act, Graham is also a cosponsor of legislation that would strengthen penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking to ensure they better reflect the serious nature of the crime.  According to an August 2018 report released by South Carolina’s Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, in South Carolina nearly 400 people died from an overdose involving fentanyl in 2017.  Graham chaired a Congressional hearing this year, entitled “Defeating Fentanyl: Addressing the Deadliest Drugs Fueling the Opioid Crisis,” featuring testimony from experts across the country, including South Carolina law enforcement.