As Chair of the Steering and Outreach Committee, Klobuchar today led a meeting with stakeholders representing law enforcement, health care, and community outreach to discuss solutions to combat drug abuse 

At the meeting, Klobuchar highlighted bipartisan legislation she has introduced to crack down on the sale of synthetic drugs and give communities the tools they need to fight drug addiction

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today highlighted her efforts to combat synthetic drugs and prescription drug addiction at a Steering and Outreach Committee Meeting on drug abuse. As Chair of the Steering and Outreach Committee, Klobuchar led a meeting with stakeholders representing law enforcement, health care, and community outreach to discuss solutions to help fight drug abuse. Among those at the discussion was Dr. Marvin D. Seppala, the Chief Medical Officer at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation which is headquarted in Minnesota. At the meeting, Klobuchar highlighted two bills she has introduced: the Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act to make prosecuting the sale and distribution of drugs easier, and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to give communities the tools they need to help end drug addiction.  

“Drug abuse is claiming lives and tearing families apart in Minnesota and across the country,” Klobuchar said. “Today’s meeting was an opportunity to bring together experts from across the country who are on the frontlines in the fight against addiction. We must continue to work together to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on drugs and give Americans struggling with addiction the support they need to start a new beginning.”

“Addiction is the number one public health problem we face in this country,” said Dr. Marvin Seppala, Chief Medical Officer at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. “I am pleased we are gaining the public support and political will required to confront this crisis, and I am grateful for the important work that Senator Klobuchar is doing to address this pressing issue."

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. 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 effects. This legislation would make it easier to prove that synthetic drugs are intended for human consumption and thus easier to prosecute.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act would provide incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue a full array of proven strategies in the fight against addiction. The bill includes Klobuchar’s provision to combat drug abuse by enhancing prescription drug monitoring programs. Klobuchar introduced the bill with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb prescription drug abuse. As Hennepin County Attorney, Klobuchar appointed a special team of prosecutors to handle drug cases, which accounted for one-third of her office’s total caseload. In September 2014, the DEA implemented Klobuchar’s bipartisan Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. Under the legislation, consumers are being provided with more safe and responsible ways to dispose of unused prescription medications and controlled substances. In August, Klobuchar delivered a keynote address at Minnesota’s Opioid Summit to over 1,000 stakeholders from the law enforcement, health care, medical, and legal communities, along with recovering addicts and families from across Minnesota.

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