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Public Statements

Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. HIRONO. Mr. Speaker, I am voting for this legislation because, like the rest of my colleagues, I want to see an end to the illegal manufacture, sale, and use of synthetic drugs that mimic the properties of illegal drugs. Many of these drugs are extremely dangerous and warrant control. In fact, some 30 states, including Hawaii, have laws that address the manufacture, sale, and use of synthetic drugs.

I am concerned, however, that we may be moving too fast. I would prefer to see a bill that is as important as this considered under regular order, with members having an opportunity to offer amendments. I am hoping that the Senate will take a more measured approach in considering this legislation.
I am especially concerned about the application of mandatory minimum sentences and Schedule I penalties that are included in this bill. I support judicial discretion, especially when the lives and futures of young people are involved.

I know too that there are concerns that this could impede legitimate scientific research of chemical compounds listed in this bill. Adjustments to this legislation may be needed to ensure that we don't hinder development of future biomedical breakthroughs.

We need to make sure the legislation targets those most responsible for widespread distribution of these drugs. Most important, we need to find ways to keep our young people from using synthetic drugs. Education of parents and young people is badly needed as is market regulation to reduce the availability and misuse of certain household and industrial aerosol products. Adding to our already crowded prisons is not a real solution to the very real problem of synthetic drugs.

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