Synthetic drugs designed to mimic cannabis could become illegal in the US if new legislation is approved.
New York senator Chuck Schumer wants 22 of the ingredients often found in man-made drugs to be made illegal. The use of K2, a synthetic version of cannabis, has been causing problems in New York with 33 people ending up in hospital after taking too much of a bad batch.
Some people take K2 as a legal alternative to cannabis but it can be very strong and extremely dangerous with a risk of causing seizures. If the new bill is passed, 22 psychoactive substances would be added to the federal list of banned drugs, making K2 in its current forms illegal.
In addition to the ingredients found in K2, Mr Schumer also wants to ban three derivatives of fentanyl, an artificial version of heroin.
The manufacturers of synthetic drugs are constantly changing the ingredients in the products they produce so they can get around the law. This means users don’t know what they are taking, putting them at risk of suffering from a potentially fatal reaction.
First step to preventing drugs deaths
Iowa senator Charles Grassley, who is co-sponsoring the bill, said: “Our bill cracks down on these dangerous substances by permanently controlling them under federal law. It’s an important first step to preventing further loss of innocent life to these dangerous and deceiving drugs.”
The frequent changes in the ingredients used in synthetic substances also make it harder for them to be detected using drugs tests. Drug testing is often used by the police, medical professionals, lawyers and the probation service to detect when people are abusing substances and monitor their recovery.
It is likely that if this bill is passed, tests will be introduced in the US which will be able to identify the presence of these banned substances in someone’s urine, blood or hair. This will make it easier to tell if someone has taken a drug like K2 or fentanyl.
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