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Public Statements

Latham-Sponsored Measure Cracking Down on Synthetic Drugs Gains Momentum in Congress

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Location: Washington, DC

A measure to outlaw dangerous synthetic drugs originally co-sponsored by Iowa Congressman Tom Latham will be included in larger legislation expected to be approved by the full U.S. House of Representatives.

It was announced this week that the measure has been included in a five-year reauthorization bill for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is expected to be approved by the House of Representatives as early as Wednesday. The legislation co-sponsored by Latham, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last December but didn't gain traction in the Senate, making it necessary to include the measure in the FDA reauthorization.

The legislation would add a list of dangerous hallucinogenic drugs to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making them subject to criminal penalty for possessing and selling them. Currently, the substances can be bought legally in states that haven't banned them and are often labeled as bath salts or incense.

"These synthetic substances pose a real threat to young people, especially in states where these drugs are still sold legally under misleading labels," Congressman Latham said. "I'm heartened that a measure outlawing them at the national level will receive another vote in Congress. This is simply the right thing to do to keep these dangerous substances out of our communities."

Synthetic drugs can lead to unexpected anxiety attacks, extreme paranoia, hallucinations and thoughts of suicide. David Rozga, an Indianola teen, shot himself after taking a synthetic substance known as K2 in the summer of 2010. In response to the tragedy, Rozga's parents have led a campaign to outlaw synthetic drugs and have testified before Congress about their dangers. Congressman Latham has met with the Rozgas and has fully supported their goal of cracking down on the sale and abuse of K2.

"We've seen the tragic results these substances can have on those who abuse them right here in Iowa," Congressman Latham said. "I want to specifically thank the Rozga family for their selfless willingness to lead the way in this effort. This legislation and other efforts to address this threat to our children would simply not have occurred without the Rozgas' courage and strength."


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