Congressman Mike Michaud praised House passage this week of a measure to create a national ban on synthetic drugs like bath salts. The bipartisan FDA User Fee Agreement includes language similar to the Synthetic Drug Control Act (H.R. 1254), a bill Michaud has been pushing since last year. Michaud called on the Senate to act quickly in sending the bill to the President's desk for final signature.
"I am very pleased that Congress is finally moving forward with legislation to address the bath salts crisis," said Michaud. "I have worked extensively with local Maine law enforcement on this issue over the last several months. These provisions will help make it harder to traffic these dangerous drugs across state lines and into our communities."
Maine officials also applauded the measure's passage. Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said the bill "is really going to help local law enforcement in Maine." State Representative Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham), who was the original sponsor of a measure to ban bath salts in Maine, called the bill "an important first step to add greater logic to federal regulations."
The measure will ban the chemicals used in the synthetic stimulants commonly sold as "bath salts" or "plant food," which have been used as substitutes for cocaine and methamphetamines. Under current law, the DEA can ban new and emerging drugs if they and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can demonstrate within 18 months that the drug is harmful and lacks medicinal or industrial value. Provisions in the FDA bill will increase that amount of time to 3 years so that the agencies have the time they need to fully investigate new substances and keep dangerous ones off the street.