Sen. Charles Schumer Urges DEA to Ban Synthetic Drugs

By Desiree Bowie 10/03/14

The senator from New York wants synthetic marijuana to become a Schedule I drug.

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Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called upon the Drug Enforcement Agency to add synthetic marijuana to the controlled substances list. Claiming that synthetic weed is as easy to buy as a candy bar, Schumer urged the federal government on Sunday to buckle down on the increasingly dangerous product.

“Synthetic marijuana, which is more dangerous than regular marijuana, and unlike regular marijuana is perfectly legal, teenagers can buy this synthetic and dangerous marijuana as easily as they can buy a Kit Kat bar,” Schumer said.

Schumer also pushed for new legislation that would help crack down on newer synthetic drugs that will hit the market in the coming years. “Reports have shown that synthetic drugs can lead to dangerous, erratic and even deadly behavior," he said. "They’re often more dangerous than marijuana. They’re being sold and marketed to young people right here in New York City, Long Island and the northern suburbs.”

In a letter to DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, Schumer reported that there has been a 220% increase in emergency room visits in the last year because of synthetic marijuana.

“Despite efforts to crack down on synthetic drugs, the massive 220% uptick in ER visits this year shows that these horrible chemical compounds are far from being in the rear-view mirror,” he said.

Schumer further stated that just this month, three high school students in Westchester County, N.Y., were hospitalized for an incident involving synthetic marijuana. The state Department of Health announced a ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana in 2012, ending a practice that some politicians said were endangering children.

"These substances are a threat to public health and need to be removed from commercial sale and distribution in New York. These substances have been linked to severe reactions including the death of users. That is why it is necessary to issue this order banning their sale," State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah said at the time.

Schumer says the agency has already prohibited about 20 of the chemicals used to make synthetic pot, but hasn't yet acted on a long list of chemicals that it can ban. He is urging the agency to use its existing authority to ban more than 250 chemicals used in the synthetic drugs.

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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie

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