WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today introduced H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, a bill banning various synthetic drug substitutes currently sold legally in most states, including Pennsylvania. Dent worked closely with law enforcement officials in crafting the legislation.

“While many Americans may not be familiar with these new synthetic drugs, a growing number of families across the country are discovering they are as dangerous and destructive as more traditional drugs like cocaine and crystal meth,” said Dent. “Most troubling is that many of these substances can be purchased legally in the United States. Ensuring these unsafe chemical compounds are no longer sold in our communities will help reverse the growing trend of synthetic drug abuse.”

The bill identifies chemical compounds that affect the brain in a manner similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and adds them to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I bans drugs and controlled substances that have high potential for abuse and have no use in medical treatment in the United States.

The bill also bans chemical compounds used in synthetic drugs commonly sold as ‘Bath Salts’ or ‘Plant Food’, which have been identified as cocaine substitutes. Abuse of bath salts has recently garnered much public attention in Pennsylvania, where disturbing cases of violent, erratic and dangerous behavior have been linked to recreational use of the substance.

Additionally, H.R. 1254 enhances the authority of DEA to temporarily ban drugs in the interest of public safety and provides greater time for the agency to prove a chemical is harmful, lacks medicinal or industrial value, and should be banned permanently.