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Mr. DENT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act and particularly the provisions related to synthetic drugs.
I introduced H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, after the issue of synthetic or designer drugs was first brought to my attention by a constituent whose son had been abusing legal substitutes for marijuana.
H.R. 1254 passed the House by a strong, bipartisan vote of 317 to 98 this past December.
After months of hard work, I am glad to see that similar language has been included in the House Amendment to the Senate-passed FDA reform bill. I would like to thank Chairmen UPTON and SMITH for their diligent efforts in advancing this legislation.
This legislation will finally add a long list of dangerous drugs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
It covers synthetic cannabinoids, which affect the brain in a manner similar to marijuana but can actually be even more harmful, as well as many of the chemicals used in so-called ``bath salts,'' which have properties similar to cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and other hard street drugs.
It will also double the amount of time that DEA may temporarily ban a new substance while working to prove that the drug in question should be banned permanently.
As we speak, the proliferators of these deadly chemicals are working on new formulas to circumvent Federal law.
This additional time will enhance DEA's ability to combat new and emerging substances.
This legislation is especially timely given the recent reports of inhuman and psychotic acts committed by individuals high on bath salts.
Last month, we all heard the horrifying story of a Miami man who stripped naked, assaulted another individual, and chewed his face off before being shot dead by the police.
Last year, a man in my district was arrested after injecting himself with bath salts and firing a gun out of his window in a university neighborhood. He later attributed his actions to a drug-induced state of paranoia.
Poison control centers nationwide have reported exponential increases in calls related to synthetic drugs, and far too many deaths have resulted both from overdoses and the Psychotic behavior that the drugs induce.
For the inclusion of this important public safety language and for the many ways this legislation will spur economic growth and medical innovation, I urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of the underlying bill.
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