House Passes Katko Measure To Address Synthetic Drug Epidemic In CNY

Washington, D.C. – In a vote Monday (Sept. 26) evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan measure, the Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act, which includes the text of legislation authored by Representative Katko and introduced earlier this month.

The measure passed the House 158-101 and addresses the recent surge in synthetic drug use. It specifically bans 22 synthetic chemicals used to make drugs like “Spice” and “K2,” and outlaws three variants of fentanyl, which is among the most potent and dangerous drugs on the market today.

“It is far past time that we take action to stop the flow of dangerous synthetic substances on our streets,” said Rep. John Katko. “Syracuse has been devastated by this epidemic, and increased synthetics use has placed a major strain on our local law enforcement and first responders. I’m proud to work alongside our local advocates, law enforcement, and healthcare providers in this fight — and this bipartisan effort is a step forward in combating the scourge of synthetic drugs.”

Synthetic drug use has hit Central New York particularly hard, with Syracuse recently becoming known as ‘Spike Nation.’

To address this crisis, Katko has worked with local advocates, healthcare providers, and law enforcement to craft meaningful reform.

As part of this effort, Rep. Katko has partnered with Teresa Woolson, an Oswego County mother who lost her son, Victor, to synthetic drugs in 2012.  Since that time, she has dedicated countless hours through the VOW Foundation, named in Victor’s honor, to combat this public health epidemic.

She applauded Rep. Kakto’s efforts.

“This legislation will help with the synthetic drug crisis.  I am so thankful to Congressman Katko for his hard work and determination to continue to bring bipartisan legislation on this matter to the House,” Woolson said. “I’m optimistic that with people like John Katko in Congress we will stop the growing trend of deadly synthetic drugs and help save more lives.”

Katko and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, both critically aware of this troubling epidemic, have committed to partnering on a state and federal level to address the problem in both in a legislative and prosecutorial manner.

“Synthetic drugs are nothing more then lethal poisons,” Fitzpatrick said. “Since they’ve hit the streets, they have caused more death, tragedy and destruction then any public health epidemic in recent memory. Unfortunately the traffickers of synthetic drugs have been able to stay one step ahead of law enforcement. Fortunately, John Katko’s experience as a federal prosecutor has given him keen insight into these issues. This legislation will make it easier to arrest and prosecute dealers, traffickers and manufacturers of synthetic drugs. It is a desperately needed weapon to help us in our battle to eradicate this poison from our communities.”

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