President Obama on Monday signed legislation that bans synthetic drugs. The law also expedites the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of new drugs and medical devices.
The law bans harmful chemicals in synthetic drugs such as those used to make synthetic marijuana and “bath salts,” according to the Star Tribune. While more than 30 states have banned various compounds in synthetic drugs, new ones are continually being created, the newspaper notes.
“In Minnesota and across the country, we are seeing more and more tragedies where synthetic drugs are taking lives and tearing apart families,” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said in a statement. “Today’s action means that this critical legislation to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on synthetic drugs is finally the law of the land.” Senator Klobuchar co-sponsored bills banning synthetic drugs, which were included in an amendment to the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act.
Synthetic drugs are readily available online. The law outlaws sales of synthetic drugs by both retail stores and online retailers.
In December, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released new information indicating that one in nine high school seniors had used “Spice” or “K2” over the past year, making synthetic marijuana the second most frequently used illicit drug, after marijuana, among high school seniors. Poison control centers operating across the nation have also reported sharp increases in the number of calls relating to synthetic drugs.
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