Congress Passes the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (Synthetic Drugs)


Carmel, New York—

The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition commends Congress for passing the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, S. 3187, which requires 26 synthetic chemicals, including those commonly found in products marketed as “K2” and “Spice” to be considered Schedule I substances.  Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse; have no medical use in treatment in the United States; and lack an accepted safety for use of the drug.

This federal law would establish regulatory oversight and enforcement on the federal level of these 26 drugs commonly found in synthetic marijuana known as “K2” and “Spice.” The new law also allows the DEA or FDA to temporarily ban the drugs for as long as 36 months. The legislation creates a new definition for “cannabamimetic agents” and sets criteria for the regulation of similar chemical compounds.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, “States ought to work to ensure that they have themselves scheduled on a State level all the substances incorporated into the Federal legislation. Although state laws vary, generally state law enforcement officials will not enforce narcotics laws on substances controlled on a Federal level but not a State level.  DEA will naturally focus their limited resources on major distribution networks and cross-state and international trafficking of these substances and their component chemicals.  DEA wants to be as helpful as possible to state authorities and to partner in investigations, but the reality is that they do not have the manpower to enforce these controls on the thousands of individual retail outlets that may sell them across the country. Both Federal and State agencies will have to continue to review and update the list of banned substances as new versions are produced and distributed.  Due to the huge profitability of these substances and the difficulty many prosecutors have in making these cases, ONDCP would encourage state and local agencies to continue to attempt to use their State health/safety/agricultural authorities to remove these substances from store shelves.  Further, civil fines and other penalties continue to be another useful tool to motive retailers to stop selling these substances. The Federal scheduling of the additional synthetic substances is an important step forward, but not the end of the story. All of us must continue to be creative in finding solutions to this continually evolving drug problem.”
Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs and spices applied with a synthetic chemical compound (psychotropic drug JWH- 018 and JWH-073) similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Spice is sold in smoke shops and head shops in a variety of colors/flavors-usually sold in foil packaging or in small glass containers. It is sold as incense and marked “not for human consumption” and is dangerous and addictive.  Nicknames for synthetic marijuana include: Fake weed, spice, K-2 spice, K-2 summit, Black Mamba, Genie, Zohai, Serenity Now, Zombie Zilla. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS) the emergency calls doubled between 2010 and 2011 due to synthetic drug use.
If you have concerns or suspect a person of using synthetic cannabinoidstake the  individual to the nearest emergency department. The Upstate New York Poison Control Center can be reached at 1-800-222-1222. If you are someone you know is struggling with alcohol and addiction, please call the National Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies/Putnam for information and referral services at (845) 225-4646
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