August 22, 2018

Young Helps Introduce Bipartisan Synthetic Drug Awareness Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), along with Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), today announced the introduction of the bipartisan Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018 to help address addiction and the drug abuse epidemic, including the growing use of synthetic drugs. The bipartisan bill would require the Surgeon General to report to Congress on the health effects of new psychoactive substances, including synthetic drugs, on young adults ranging from 12-18 years of age.

Synthetic drugs mimic the effects of illegal narcotics and, in some cases, are developed in attempts to evade regulation. Recently, there were reports that more than 70 people overdosed on what authorities believed to be synthetic marijuana. Since 2009, the use of synthetics has increased rapidly, and emergency room visits resulting from synthetic marijuana and amphetamines have doubled across the country. Unfortunately, there is very little research on the negative effects of these synthetic drugs on the brains of young people, and this bipartisan bill seeks to address that.

“As the drug epidemic continues to ravage communities in Indiana and across the country, we must take steps to understand all aspects of this crisis, including the growth of synthetic drug use among young people. By requiring the Surgeon General to report the health effects of new synthetic drugs to Congress, this bipartisan bill will help provide the tools needed to comprehend this growing trend and keep our young people safe,” said Senator Young.  

Synthetic fentanyl and carfentanil are also exacerbating the horrific heroin, fentanyl, and opioid epidemic across the country. From 2014 to 2015, the death rate from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, increased by 72.2 percent.  

For the text of the bill, click here. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).