For Immediate Release July 2, 2015
Contact: Theresa Wheeler firstname.lastname@example.org
As Spread of Deadly Synthetic Drugs Continues – Will U.S. Lawmakers Act?
UK imposes blanket ban on synthetics, seven year jail term
Sen. Feinstein bill would help crack down, give law enforcement tools to prosecute
CALIFORNIA – As the proliferation of synthetic drugs brings increased awareness of the widespread injury and death they are causing, local, state, national, and international authorities continue their attempts to stop the spread. Some are taking bold and effective steps.
Synthetic drugs – often known as Spice, bath salts, fake weed, Flakka, and a plethora of ever-changing names – come in multiple forms (read more). No one, except the illicit manufacturers, know what is really in these so-called “legal highs,” or the level of toxic chemicals they contain at any time. In many places, synthetic drugs are sold at convenience stores and gas stations in deceptive and attractive packaging yet marked “not for human consumption” only as a loophole to avoid laws.
Across the U.S. – from California to Missouri to New York – and around the world, use of synthetic drugs is growing at alarming rates and causing horrific physical and mental effects, including seizures, psychotic episodes, long-term psychosis, paralysis, kidney failure, increased heart rate and heart attacks, brain swelling, and death. Criminal penalties for selling these deadly drugs are often slight or non-existent, leaving dealers undeterred.
While some local, state, and federal laws have been passed to ban some of the chemicals found in these drugs, manufacturers regularly create new formulas to skirt the bans. Now, some lawmakers are acting to address the moving target of synthetic drugs by outlawing the manufacture and distribution of synthetics that are injuring and killing youth and adults every day.
It was announced last month that the United Kingdom will automatically ban newly created “legal highs” and allow manufacturers and distributors to be prosecuted and sentenced to prison for up to seven years.
In a similar move to address the quickly changing make-up of synthetic drugs, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – California) has introduced a bill that will allow any substance that seeks to mimic a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic to be deemed a controlled substance, and will direct the U.S. Sentencing Commission to amend criminal sentencing guidelines to ensure adequate penalties for any offense involving the unlawful manufacturing, importing, exporting, or trafficking of these substances. The bill has bi-partisan support and is awaiting action in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Lawmakers must act immediately and act boldly to remove the scourge of synthetic drugs and to stop the growing destruction and death they are causing,” said Devin Eckhardt, co-founder of The Connor Project Foundation along with his wife Veronica. The Eckhardt’s 19-year old son Connor was killed in July 2014 after taking just one hit of a synthetic drug.
The Connor Project Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs in the U.S. and around the world. A recent Facebook message they posted reached over 23 million Facebook users worldwide – spreading the message that synthetic drugs kill.
The Eckhardts have taken their message to youth and policy makers in Washington, D.C. and this week will be raising awareness of synthetic drugs in the UK, including scheduled meetings with a member of the House of Lords, BBC News and Premier Radio.
Follow The Connor Project Foundation on twitter @stopsynthetics and visit the website at www.thedirtiestkeptsecret.org.