When U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York gets his teeth into an issue, he can be like a junkyard dog when it comes to making something happen.
Such was the case with Schumer’s legislation banning synthetic substances, which was signed into law this week by President Obama. It was part of a larger Food and Drug Administration bill.
The senator has been like a pit bull for over a year to attempting to get an additional 31 substances to the list of controlled substances. The new law stops the legal sales of “bath salts,” synthetic marijuana and synthetic hallucinogens in New York state and across the country.
The new drug legislation will permanently ban the deadly chemical compounds marketed and sold as bath salts and incense. It’s also crucial to combat the sale of the chemicals across state lines and the country’s borders with Canada and Mexico.
It takes effect immediately.
Over the past year, New York state has seen a drastic increase in both the use and destructive events involving the synthetic mind-altering drugs.
Emergency rooms across the state, including those in the Clinton, Essex and Franklin county area, have documented increases in overdoses of synthetic products and their effects on human behavior. Some users have died after overdosing or because of violent behavior.
Students and community leaders in the North Country, especially in Essex County, were proactive in their approach to get the attention of state and federal lawmakers. They were heard, and the new legislation is evidence that small communities can make a difference.
The substances, up to now sold legally in smoke shops and convenience stores across the state and throughout the country under names like Tranquility, Zoom, Ivory Wave (bath salts) and K2 (synthetic marijuana), are now federally banned.
The legislation closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to circumvent local and state bans and ensure that you can’t simply cross state lines to find these deadly substances.
According to numerous reports, the chemicals found in bath salts alone cause effects similar to those caused by cocaine and methamphetamines, including hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
Those effects often lead to violence.
These synthetic substances are now classified as illegal and can’t be prescribed under any circumstances.
Schumer and his colleagues deserve a lot of credit in pushing his legislation despite the objections of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky). Maybe we’ll sleep a little better knowing that our children and young adults just can’t walk into a convenience store to buy these substances anymore.