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Senate advances new synthetic drug ban to the governor

SPRINGFIELD – Building on Sen. Kyle McCarter’s drug ban targeting synthetic marijuana approved in 2015, the Illinois Senate passed legislation this week that would make synthetic heroin illegal.

mccarter kyle“The law specifically adds a new synthetic drug, known as ‘Pink,’ to the list of banned substances,” said McCarter, R-Lebanon. “This manufactured substance is a synthetic heroin, which is responsible for dozens of deaths nationwide. With the opioid addiction problem already facing families and communities across Illinois, the last thing we need is more cheap drugs on the streets.”

House Bill 2534 adds various synthetic drugs and chemical compounds known as ‘cannabinoids’ to the list of Schedule I controlled substances, which are a category of the most dangerous drugs. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, these drugs “have a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use,” and “lack accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

In November of 2016, the DEA, responding to the imminent threat to public health and safety, placed ‘Pink’ – also known by its chemical name ‘U-47700’ – into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The action by the DEA was an emergency scheduling of the drug on a temporary basis. The drug is more powerful than non-synthetic heroin and merely touching it is enough of a contact for it to enter the bloodstream.

“Because of the way ‘Pink’ is created it was not illegal. HB2534 changes that status,” said McCarter. “If we can save one more life by taking this action, we must act. We must be aggressive in our efforts putting these drugs on the books and prosecuting those who distribute them.”

McCarter passed a ban on synthetic marijuana in 2015. Street names of that drug included “K-2” and “Spice.” The ban took effect in 2016. The American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of state lawmakers from across the nation, endorsed McCarter’s legislation as a model law for other states to follow.

The Senate approved HB2534, co-sponsored by Sen. McCarter on a vote of 57 – 0. The measure was introduced in the House by Rep. Avery Bourne R-Raymond. The House passed the bill on April 5 by a vote of 115 – 0. The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.

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