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Miami Attack May Push Action on ‘Bath Salts’ Ban

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Charlie Dent is an original sponsor of legislation to ban bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

“Even though our state has banned it, this happened,” Adams said of the Miami incident. “Unfortunately, we still do not have a law nationwide, so we’re seeing this stuff coming across state lines.”

Rep. Cliff Stearns, another Florida lawmaker and the third-ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he feels strongly about banning the drug and he will talk to Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) about it.

“I think it’s imperative,” he said. “People become not only psychotic — hallucinations — but also they start fights in which they can get injured and not have any memory of it.”

Upton’s office was noncommittal but noted that he is taking the ban into consideration.

“We are still examining the Senate language but the chairman is concerned with the dangerous effects of synthetic drugs,” an Upton spokeswoman said.

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is working with Upton to see that a synthetic drug ban, which originated in his committee, is included in the final FDA bill, a Smith spokeswoman said.

Senate Democrats will also try to include the ban in the conference committee, according to a Senate staffer involved in the matter.

Still, there is some opposition to the ban. Some civil libertarians believe drugs should not be banned or that such issues should be left up to the states.

Many Democrats voted against Dent’s bill when it came to the floor in December because they said it went too far in restricting chemicals that could be useful for research into cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s.

The FDA conference committee is expected to begin soon and is expected to be relatively free of controversy.

Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said he had not yet heard about the Miami face eater, but he noted that the ban has passed both chambers.

“I think if the Senators put it in their bill and the House has already passed it separately, it seems to show strong support for the proposal, but it’ll be an issue we’ll have to discuss in conference,” Waxman said.

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