May 15 2015

Graham Backs Bill to Fight Synthetic Drugs

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has signed onto 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 new synthetic drugs that are “analogues” – or substantially similar to current illegal drugs.

“Synthetic drugs are illegal and dangerous,” said Graham. “But because of the wording in the statute, it is easy for people to get around the law and continue to sell these harmful substances. Our bill will give law enforcement the flexibility it needs to make sure individuals who sell these drugs can’t skirt the law by changing a label.”

Current law provides the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) with a mechanism to prosecute the sale and distribution of analogue drugs. However, the law specifically says that an analogue drug does not include any substance “not intended for human consumption.” This makes the prosecution of offenders difficult as synthetic drugs often explicitly state that they are “not intended for human consumption.”

This bill amends the Controlled Substances Act to require 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 says that the existence of evidence that a substance was not marketed, advertised, or labeled for human consumption, should not stop prosecutors from being able to establish based on all the evidence that the substance was in fact intended for human consumption.

The bipartisan legislation is also supported by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California).