U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday she is sponsoring legislation that would continue the fight against synthetic drugs at the federal level.
The bill, which already has bipartisan support, would make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of what are known as analogues, synthetic drugs that are close but not identical to those already banned. Manufacturers and sellers frequently market the products with the slogan “not fit for human consumption.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency has the ability to prosecute analogue drug distribution and sales, but not specifically those labeled as not fit for human consumption.
“When it comes to fighting the rise of synthetic drugs, it seems like every time one drug is made illegal another drug that is almost identical pops up, and law enforcement has to go through the entire process all over again,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “This bill will make it easier to crack down on new synthetic drugs by closing a loophole that allows drug dealers to flout the law.”
This bill would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to require considering a number of factors when determining whether a controlled substance analogue was intended for human consumption. U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Diane Feinstein, D-California, are co-sponsoring the bill.
Klobuchar has led the charge against synthetic drugs at the Capitol ever since they began sweeping through southeast and northern Minnesota a few years ago. Stricter laws at the state and federal levels have curbed use, particularly in the Winona region, though synthetics continue to be a visible problem in northern Minnesota, particularly in Duluth.
In 2011, a bill Klobuchar authored to ban a number of chemicals found in synthetic drugs, such as the popular 2C-E, was signed into law. That legislation came after Klobuchar helped push for an emergency federal ban on synthetics, which are known by a number of different names, including plant food, bath salts, K2, spice, and others.