Attorney General Holder Voices Support for Klobuchar's Synthetic Drug Legislation

Press Release

Date: Nov. 9, 2011
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Drugs

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar received support for her legislation banning dangerous synthetic drugs from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder said Klobuchar's legislation was "clearly needed" and vowed to help move the legislation forward. Holder also gave his support to Klobuchar's effort to make it easier for new synthetic drugs to be classified as "analogs," which allows law enforcement to target manufacturers and distributors.

"These new designer drugs are taking lives and tearing apart families in Minnesota and across the country, and we must take swift action to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on this growing epidemic," Klobuchar said."This legislation has overwhelming bipartisan support, and its passage cannot and should not be delayed any longer. I will continue to work to move this legislation forward so we can get these laws on the books."

"I think that the legislation is clearly needed and we will work with you to try to get it passed," Holder said.

Klobuchar, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have led the effort in the U.S. Senate to ban harmful chemicals in synthetic drugs that have taken lives -- including the life of a Minnesotan -- and injured many others. Klobuchar's legislation, the Combating Designer Drugs Act of 2011, bans the substance known as 2C-E, a synthetic hallucinogen, and eight other similar substances. Klobuchar introduced the legislation this past March after a Minnesota teenager died and ten others were hospitalized due to an overdose of 2C-E.

In September, Klobuchar hosted a roundtable on synthetic drugs with U.S. Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske and Minnesota law enforcement leaders. The discussion focused on efforts to curb the sale and use of dangerous synthetic drugs and highlighted how federal, state, and local leaders can work together to solve the problem. The following week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced its decision to ban three chemicals commonly found in synthetic drugs known as "bath salts."

Klobuchar is also working with the DEA to make it easier for new synthetic drugs to be classified as "analogs" -- substances which have similar chemical structures and effects as illegal drugs and can be targeted by law enforcement.

Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, which has jurisdiction over issues relating to drug control policy, and she has been a leader in strengthening drug safety standards to protect consumers.