Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today introduced the Protecting Our Youth from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act of 2013 to combat synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of controlled substances and circumvent existing federal drug laws. These so-called controlled substance analogues are currently unregulated.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Many of the estimated 200 controlled substance analogues on the market today are designed to mimic the effects of hallucinogenic drugs like ecstasy, PCP and LSD, as well as THC, the principal chemical in marijuana.

“Traffickers of dangerous synthetic drugs continue to circumvent federal law by altering the chemical structure of their products and finding new markets for distribution, particularly among young people.” said Senator Feinstein.

The Obama Administration has conducted two nationwide operations targeting the importation, manufacture and distribution of designer synthetic drugs – Operation LogJam in July 2012 and Operation Synergy in June 2013.

These operations resulted in the seizure of $93 million in cash and assets; the removal of at least 10 tons of synthetic drugs from the supply chain; 318 arrests; and the execution of 681 search warrants, including at least 29 for drug manufacturing facilities.

Feinstein added, “This bill gives law enforcement the necessary tools to prosecute and bring to justice individuals who produce and distribute unregulated synthetic drugs.”

The Protecting Our Youth from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act of 2013:

  • Establishes an inter-agency committee of scientists headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and responsible for establishing and maintaining an administrative list of controlled substance analogues.
  • Makes it illegal to import a controlled substance analogue unless the importation is intended for non-human use. (Virtually all substance analogues arrive in bulk from outside the United States).
  • Directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review, and if appropriate, amend the federal sentencing guidelines for violations of the Controlled Substances Act pertaining to controlled substance analogues.

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