Washington, DC — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help fight new synthetic drugs. The bill would make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of new synthetic drugs that are “analogues” – or substantially similar to current illegal drugs. Current law makes it difficult to prosecute new synthetic drugs as analogues because they are often labeled “not intended for human consumption” and not marketed for human consumption despite their well-known use as recreational drugs with dangerous effects. The senators’ legislation would make it easier to prove that synthetic drugs are intended for human consumption and thus easier to prosecute.

“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.“This bill will make it easier to crack down on new synthetic drugs the minute they hit the market by closing a loophole that allows drug dealers to flout the law by pretending that these dangerous drugs are not intended for human consumption, when really they’re endangering the lives of teenagers and families every day.”

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 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 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.

During her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has been a leader in the effort to ban harmful chemicals in synthetic drugs that have taken lives and injured many others. Last year, her provisions outlawing harmful synthetic substances such as 2C-E, which led to the death of a Minnesota teenager and hospitalized several others, were passed into law as part of a larger bill called the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. The legislation also includes provisions Klobuchar cosponsored banning harmful chemicals commonly found in bath salts and synthetic marijuana. Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which has jurisdiction over issues relating to drug control policy, and she has been a leader in strengthening drug safety standards to protect consumers.