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tv   Federal Officials Testify on Synthetic Drug Use  CSPAN  June 7, 2016 9:27pm-10:16pm EDT

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compelling needs in the terrible stories of people who have been afflicted by these various th injuries and challenges to their health, but the fact is, it's coming from the wrong place. that's what this is all about. mr. pres., i yield the floor.t >> the question for us in congress is whether we have given the government every possible tool consistent withhr the constitution, i do not believe we have which is why i've introduced the patriot terrorist act. over the years numerous americans have abandoned their country and their fellow citizens to go abroad and join radical islamic terrorist groups intelligence officials estimate more than 250 americans have tried or succeeded in traveling to syria and a rack to join isis
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or other terrorist groups in the region. this. this amendment updates the ex- patriot statutes so that americans travel abroad and can fight with radical islamic terrorists they can relinquish their citizenship. this allows us to preempt attacks and attempts to reentere the country and launch attacks on other americans who otherwise hide behind citizenship. in this dangerous world, it would be the height of foolishness for the administration to allow known terrorists, radical islamic terrorists and those affiliated with isis and al qaeda with other islam groups to travel back to the united states of america using a passport to carry out jihad and murder innocent americans. this legislation should be bipartisan legislation. this should be legislation that brings all of us together. we might disagree on questions of margin marginal tax rate or tax issues, but it comes to the
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simple question if an islamic terrorists intent on killing americans be allowed to use the u.s. passport to travel freely and come into america, that answer should be no. that ought to be an issue of great agreement. t so today i call upon my colleagues to join me in supporting these amendments and coming together. together they strengthen our nation both at home and abroad. we are stronger than the obstacles we face. i the grace of god we will succeed. the stakes are too high to quit. we will stand together and continue to strengthen this exceptional nation, the shining city on a hill that each and every one of us love. i yield the floor. >> senator from >> i hope this senator from texas who just made a moving commentary would consider in the
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future of voting for the defense authorization bill rather than voting against it and standing together, we stood together on the committee with only three votes against the defense authorization bill and we voted against it last year as well. i would look forward to workingg with the senator from texas and maybe getting, instead of him being one or two in the bipartisan effort of the committee to be voting for the defense authorization bill. i might tell him also, that with his agenda as he described it i would be much more agreeable to considering that agenda if heef would consider voting for the defense of this nation which we worked for months and months with hearings and meetings and gatherings and he decides to vote against the authorization bill. i look forward to working withor him and perhaps next time he might consider voting for it rather than being one of three out of some 27 in the committee that voted for it.
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>> the absence of a quorum. >> mr. president. >> senator from texas. >> alas the nms unanimous consent for the call. my >> without ejections. >> mr. president i will briefly respond to my friend from arizona. as he is aware, this contains one tradition that in the history of our country is a radical departure. for the first time ever this would subject women to selective service. now was this change done through open debate? was was done in front of the american people? was this done their views? no is inserted by committee
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staff of a committee draft. it is a radical change that is attempting to be forced on the american people. i'm the father of two daughters. women can do anything they set their mind too and i see that each and every day. the idea that we should forcibly constrict young girls in combatm to my mind makes little or no sense. it is at minimum a radical proposition. i could not vote for a bill that did so without public debate. i would know that in addition to that in previous years, i'veha joined with them to protect an amendment that would protectmera americans against it. the chairman is aware because i
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told them this for years in ate row that if the senate would take up and pass the amendment protecting the constitutional due process rights of rights, the bill bill of rights actually matters and i would happily vote for the bill. the senate has not taken up that amendment and i've had no choice at the end of the day and i can tell you right now, if this bill continues, to extend the draft to women, radical change, much to the astonishment of the voters, not just by democrats but by a lot of republicans then i'll have no choice to vote no. i would be thrilled to vote yes if we focused on the vital responsibility of protecting this country rather than focusing on extraneous issues. i yield the floor. >> the senator from texas has a unique capability of finding a provision in a bill that faces his opposition with the strong moral stance.
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the fact is, every single leader in this country, both men and women, members of the military leadership believe that it's fair since we back opened up all aspects of the military to womeu that they would also be registering for selective service. i would also point out that with every single member of the committee all of the female members find it a matter of a quality. women who i have spoken to in the military overwhelmingly believe that women are not only qualified but are on the same basis as their male counterparts
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every leader of the united states military seem to have a different opinion from the senator of texas whose military background is not extensive. for him to now, it's obviously an issue but not a sufficient reason because it was not included, the bill last year did not address the issue, but because we didn't address thees issue to his satisfaction, then he votes against the bill. this time it selective service. the vote within the committee is overwhelming. they believe that every single one of our military leaders, to think that somehow that is sufficient reason for him to can tin you to vote against the bill even though he does not respect the will of the majority in my
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view, is not sufficient reason to continue to oppose what is a bipartisan bill overwhelmingly voted for in the committee and at the end of the day voted overwhelmingly in favor of the united states senate. i respect the senator from texas view, too bad that view is noty shared by our military leadership, the ones who have had the experience in the military in combat with women. mr. president. >> i suggest the absence of a quorum. >> this is amazing for the family story if you think about it. the empire has increased, there are great love affairs, but it's also a family where fathers kill their sons it's a family unlike any other. >> sunday night on q&a he
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discusses his book, 1613 - 1918 about the 18 about the dynasty that ruled russia for over 300 years. >> all the girls and all the children basically were wearing their own bazaar bullet proof vest. not bulletproof vest but vest with hundreds and hundreds of diamonds so they could have money in case they needed to escape and buy their way out. they spent months sowing these diamonds in. when the bullets came, tragically, these made their execution and their agony much longer because they didn't die. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern q&a. mattern secretary, we proudly
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give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. [applause] the senate judiciary committee held a hearing on the growing use of synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of illegal narcotics. federal, state and local law enforcement officials testified about the views of synthetic drugs and the loopholes that allow them to be sold legally. charles grassley chairs the two-hour 15 minute hearing.
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>> i like to wait and start until there's members of the other political party here but they must be stuck in traffic and they said i can go ahead. wherever we are in the testimony when they arrive, i will let them give their opening statement right away. in many areas across this committee's jurisdiction, we hear time and again that technology is outpacing the law. in no other area is a result of this gap is deadly and tragic with the recent rise in production, marketing and sale of synthetic drugs to young people.
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traffickers created these drugs and laboratories so they produce the same or greater effects on a user with controlled substances. when the government asked to ban the new drug traffickers tweak the chemical formula ever so slightly to invade the law. they give these substances exciting names like vanilla sky, spice and crazy clown. they sell them in legitimate convenience stores all to market them to young people as legal and therefore presumably safe, a safe way to get high. of course this is all a lie. these drugs are anything but safe. almost six years ago to the day, a young man from indianola, iowa , became one of the first young people to die from the effects of smoking synthetic
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marijuana. his parents have since become outspoken advocates in a for awareness against synthetic drugs. i am honored to have them in david's brother here today and david's father will share his family story. synthetic marijuana are substances that have little to do with the marijuana plant. the substances typically composed of plant matter sprayed with chemicals designed to mimic the effect of the ths, the active marijuana ingredient with far more potency. they're often marketed as baths so or glass cleaner and it's another type of synthetic drug.
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these are stimulants that mimic the effects of cocaine and methamphetamines. more recently, a a third category of synthetic drugs has emerged, synthetic opioids in the form of sentinel. this committee needs no introduction to the opioid crisis of fenton l and it's derivatives of opioids, 5050 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. they have called them deadly convergence of the synthetic drug threat and current national opioid problem. it was recently announced that the problem was responsible for the death of the musician prints. according to dea they are
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largely develop outside the united states, mostly in china and smuggled in through the border of mexico. in reports that indicated that there often traceable back to the middle east. we need to take a hard look at whether lomb enforcement has the tools needed to protect the public from these synthetics. while this committee acted a few years ago, since then it's clear that traffickers are continuing to outpace us. in 2011 after mike testified, this committee acted bypassing my bill, the david mitchell rods to act. it placed a series of synthetic drugs on schedule one. it also change the time for
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which a subject can be scheduled for the dea to protect the public. the bill had brought bipartisan support on the committee. the next year my bill became law as part of the drug prevention act. this was an important step to protect our young people. sure enough calls to poison control centers began to level off or decline. since march 2011 the dea has you scheduling authority to place 35 synthetic drugs on schedule one clearly the threat posed by these drugs has not abated. calls to drug centers for synthetic marijuana has continued to rise. there were 362014 and almost
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8000 in 2015. news news stories continue to picked the awful effects of injecting these substances on our youth. the effects on our healthcare and criminal justice and law enforcement continues to encounter these substances i think all of our witnesses for being here today to help us learn more about this crisis. many of us on the committee have supported legislation that we think we can help. given the complex way in which traffickers can evade the law, this is a difficult problem and doesn't have an easy answer. i will now turn to senator feinstein and instead of what i gave orally, because i shorten my statement, i want my printed statement put in the record without objection. >> thank you very much. i want to welcome our witnesses
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and as i look out at the audience here today, it appears to be a knowing and intelligence intelligent audience. i'm very pleased to see this. he's a humorous so i have a humorous comment. i'm not a humorous i wouldn't deliver it well. so i'm going to cease and desist. we are here today to discuss synthetic drugs and the challenges in bringing the manufacturers and traffickers of these substances to justice. i think this audience knows that unregulated substances mimic the effects of controlled substances such as marijuana, tcp and lsd. that is bad news. in 2015 there were 7789 poison center exposures nationwide to
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synthetic marijuana. this was the most since the drug appeared in the united states. there were 3960 exposures in the states just represented by this committee, mr. chairman. that's almost half of the exposures nationwide. the challenge for law-enforcement is that manufacturers mostly in china and india change one or two molecules in a drugs composition and they produce a controlled substance analog. the new drug even though it has a similar effect on the body may no longer be illegal and enforcement efforts become difficult. these are then shipped to our
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country where they are marketed as legal alternatives to illegal drugs and a pure appeal to youth because they're easily assessable. there often sold at gas stations, convenience stores are online. were now beginning to see a decrease in this exposure, but other synthetic drugs such as synthetic opioids continue to bring about habit. for example, sentinel, a scheduled to drug are deadly and highly addictive synthetic opioids. in sacramento there were 52 sentinel related overdoses in one month. that resulted in at least one death. from 2013 - 2015 there was an
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increase in synthetic opioids. i've never seen that before, an 80% increase in one year. while. while alarmingly hi, these statistics may also be inaccurate because fenton all caused death often are misclassified as prescription opioid or heroine related. like other synthetic drugs, they are clandestinely produced and enter the united states in one of three ways. one, chinese chemist produce and ship it to the united states via international mail. two, mexican drug traffickers produce it with precursor chemicals from china and smuggled across the southwest border. or three chinese comments produce it and ship it to canada where it is smuggled across the
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northern border. the point of this is, regardless of the type, synthetic drugs pose a deadly and quickly you following threat. mr. chairman, you and i have held to drug caucus hearings dating back to 2011. since then congress has only scheduled 26 substances substances another another 35 have been administratively controlled through temporary scheduling. only 11 of which have been permanently controlled. simply put our current legislative and a ministry of framework prevent the swift action that's needed to address this constantly evolving problem that's why, with others in 2015i reintroduced the the protecting our youth from dangerous
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synthetic drug act. this is a bipartisan bill cosponsored by many members of this committee. this bill would prevent manufacturers from skirting federal law by establishing an interagency committee that would convene on an as-needed basis to quickly designate and prohibit synthetic drugs encountered by law enforcement. i think importantly this controlled substance analog are not subject to schedule one restrictions, legitimate scientific and medical research could be safeguarded, controlling the synthetic drug more quickly will better enable us to protect our nation's youth and ensure successful prosecutions against those who manufacture and traffic these drugs. if people here have comments on
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these drugs i would very much like to hear them and i think one thing is clear, we really have to move to do something to stop this. i've never seen this in my lifetime before in this country so i am hopeful that under your leadership we will be able to come forward with some important legislation. i thank you very much i associate myself with her remarks about acting quickly on this. he leaves the administration drug policy efforts and is responsible for creating an annual drug control strategy. previously he served and a
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masters of education and we invite you back. were glad you're back here. his u.s. attorney, northern district of new york, prior to his confirmation, he served for 12 years and his graduate of georgetown university. chuck rosenberg has served of acting dea since may 2015 and began his career service this public service as an assistant u.s. attorney from virginia from 94 until the year 2000. after a few years of private sector he served in a series of senior positions in law-enforcement.
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and chief of staff to then deputy. he was confirmed by the senate and it's a position he would've held since 2008. he was a drug undergraduate from tufts law degree university of virginia and masters degree harvard. final witness is doctor douglas, and center for drug evaluation and research at the u.s. food and drug administration. he joined in 97 after working in the medical college of georgia and the veterans ministration hospital, augusta georgia. he earned his his md from the university of nebraska medical school and completed his
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residency at the western reserve and his fellowship at yale university. we start out with mr. botticelli thank you for inviting me back to discuss issues of synthetic drugs. they're all a tremendous concern of the administration. i focused my opening remarks on new psychoactive substances. there sometimes known as designer drugs or legal high. they are designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs. in december 2015 the united nations estimated there are over 600 on the global market. the vast majority of these not controlled under drug control authorities. there often mixed with material
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to form a dangerous package in alluring packaging. those products can very from batch to batch. they have no known medical use in many pose a serious threat to public health. i appreciate that he is here from iowa to talk about his son's tragic death associated with this use. there are many young people who are a testament to the deadly effect these synthetic drugs are having on our community. although they have developed responses to control this, the ease in which it can be manufactured makes controls challenging. according to the dea, nearly all
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are manufactured in china. they are marketed over the internet and ship to the united states via mail service or ship to retail distributors and sold to the public at retail stores. given the fatal and nonfatal effects of these substances, this clearly needs to change. united states is leading discussion with international partners on how the global response can be improved. in april at the special session we joined other countries to courage the world health organization to engage more proactively in the review of substances for international control. while international control of drugs and chemical precursors are important, the existing international scheduling framework is both underutilized and unable to judiciously review the overwhelmingly number that exist or could exist in the future. they're trying to press countries like china to control
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it within their borders. china announce significant action to gain control over these synthetic drugs to place 116 substances under national control. most important most important lee china has streamlined their scheduling process for them and determine that the impact of a substance both domestically and internationally should factor into the review for substances for control. our federal agencies will continue to work directly with china to reduce the manufacturing of these drugs. federal agencies are also working with law enforcement to support investigation being done abroad. with the science and research to better understand the pharmacology and help inform prevention and treatment strategy and with prevention strategies. despite these efforts we are concerned about the availability of traditional response to success successfully reduce use and availability domestically. scheduling authorities to help
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law enforcement and the data collection needed to support the existing and potential drugs is a huge task. it is a time-consuming and intensive task. they have been meeting and working together on the data required to place new drugs under control. we believe that a coordinated response to scheduling and takes into account is necessary to stay ahead of the supply. in the short term scheduling these compounds helps prevent further harm to the public.
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it's needed to stay ahead of the new realities of the illicit drug market. the united states is not alone in grappling how to deal with this and address the problem. in recent months the united kingdom and australia have taken bold steps in getting ahead of the drug threat. they are committed to making progress and will continue to work with our international partners, government agencies and our partners at the state, local and tribal level to prevent threat to our community that these dangerous substances pose. >> thank you. now i'll go ahead with mr. heart union. >> thank you chairman grassley, chairman feinstein and distinguish members of the committee. on behalf of atty. general lynch and my colleagues at the department of justice i think you for the opportunity to testify about synthetic drugs.
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bite our efforts, synthetic drugs drugs can continue to flourish with horrible human costs including hallucination, hospitalization and worse. they are produced in china with scientists who stay ahead of the process. there is no quality control and there are significant variations in texas city and variations of unknown mixes of chemicals presents a significant risk to users. in an effort to garner worldwide attention, there there was a 50-year-old man under the influence seen naked in the street waving a tree branch. when he said he would have to kill them to stop him, the officers appointed taser gun but he pulled the probes out of his chest and continued walking
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until two officers subdued him. in march of 2016 syracuse police took a 25-year-old man to the hospital after his mother reported that he had said his mattress on fire. syracuse has seen so many overdoses, locally known as spike that it has become known as bike nation. under the analog act, criminal liability has a finding in each case that the substances and analog intended for human consumption and the defendant knew the substance was regulated under federal law or knew the identity of the substance for it even if the substance was widely regarded as a controlled substance under the statute, each criminal prosecution must establish that fact a new which requires expert witnesses. proving that a substance was intended for human consumption presents another challenge. in light of the common practice
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of marketing and selling synthetic drugs with names like bath salts and not for human consumption labels, apparently designed to set up a lack of knowledge defense making it more difficult to convict high-level suppliers. these are the challenges but it has not deterred our effort to protect the american public. we first use the analog act in a case that began in 2009 to nine to convict 20 defendants in a ring in molly from china and distributing it in the syracuse area. multi- quantity kilo were shipped and defendants received sentences as long as 188 months. in 2012 we prosecuted the owner of nine shops in new york and we
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seized 12 kg of spice and k2 and thousands of packages of others. he went to jail for 87 months. from coast to coast and in the heartland, my fellow u.s. attorneys have achieved similar successes. in north dakota after two teenagers died from analog overdoses in grand forks area in 2012 an investigation revealed that his online business was importing analog from several country and distributing them across united states. fourteen other defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison. in the eastern district of california, he pled guilty to producing 24 tons to be introduced into interstate commerce with names like bizarro and generating $20 million in profits. in april 2016 in in the middle district of florida, chinese
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national was sentenced to 50 months in prison for his involvement in supplying hundreds of pounds of synthetics to the u.s. and other countries. he was a chemical engineer and he monitored the scheduling efforts and altered his inventory accordingly. in the northern district of iowa , two men were convicted in 2015 of conspiracy to distribute analog and launder drug money. they were wholesale distributors of synthetic drugs with names like mr. nice guy and mr. happy as well as synthetic drugs. while our prosecution punishes some and it's her others and raise public and awareness, we understand that education prevention and rehabilitation are essential components of a
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comprehensive solution p we partner with educators and healthcare providers in town hall meetings and events like the side community forum sponsored by three syracuse area high schools. we invest substantial resources in youth education programs like our leadership project reaching fifth-grade students in the northern districts reentry program which helps high-risk supervisees find the help they need to deal with their addiction and successfully reintegrate into society. the tools congress has given us have allowed us to take aggressive action against manufacturers and dealers. we still face challenges but our resolve to hold them accountable remains unwavering. thank you and i look forward to answering any questions you have >> thank you, now mr. rosenberg. >> members of of the committee it's a pleasure to be here. i appreciate you holding this hearing. we use words without thinking
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about it from precedent to historic and unique. i actually think what we're seeing is unprecedented and historic. we have an epidemic. that's another word that sometimes overused but it fits here. this is an epidemic. i want to talk about this and i'll be brief but of course will be happy to answer questions. i think there are three other words that help me think about this problem. one is vile one is volatile and one is lethal. let me explain. the reason this is so vile, and you touched on it is because a lot of these poison peddlers are marketing to children. they take substances and put them in shiny foil packages with cartoon characters and give it some innocent sounding name. they stick it in a convenience store or grocery store and sell this stuff to kids. by any definition i think that
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is vile. volatile, let let me expand that as well. as you touched on mr. chairman and senator feinstein mentioned and other witnesses will talk about, we are trying to keep up with the picture that changes almost every day. we've identified something like 400 new psychoactive substances over the last four or five years. on one time we were seeing about one a week. now we are seeing two or three a month. i almost feel, each time i signed in administrative control regulation that i'm simply telling the bad guys not this one anymore, move over here. that's what they do. volatile. for everyone substance we've controlled, legislatively or administratively, there are there are 11 more out there that are uncontrolled. it's changing all the time.
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so vile and volatile. let me briefly address lethal. folks will talk today eloquently perhaps on this panel and certainly on the next one about the effect this has had on our kids and the folks we've lost. i want to talk about it from a slightly different perspective, from a law enforcement perspective. this is so dangerous that we have had to instructor agents that if they touch it or inhale it accidentally, they can die. if they are a k-9 officer and their dog sniffs it perhaps because it's laced in heroine, that dog can die. we have trained our agents, not because because they are first responders because typically they are not, but because they could encounter this. obviously if they come upon the
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scene as a first responder they can do it there as well but we have to protect our own people because this stuff is so lethal. it's really a remarkable substance. we are putting out a rollcall video through the international association to warn a million police officers across the country that you can't field test this stuff for transport at the way you normally transport it. you have to be so careful because just being exposed to it , not even purposely ingesting it or smoking it, just being being exposed to it can kill you i think those are the three words that help me think about this program, i'm very happy that you're doing this. there's a lot of work to do and were playing catch-up. we need your help. thank you for the opportunity. >> you are very plainspoken, thank you very much. chairman grassley and members of the committee, i am in the
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center for drug evaluation which is part of the department of health and human services. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the important role in the assessment of new drugs whether illicit or illicit. let me begin by saying i agree with all of the comments that the three comments made dealing with the seriousness of the issue. they pose significant health risk. we appreciate the efforts the committee is doing and the fda is committed to doing our part while the drug enforcement administration is the lead federal agency responsible for regulating controlled substances and enforcing the control substances, hhs has a number of responsibilities, many of which are performed by fda in this area. my testimony today will focus on the role we have in the drug
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scheduling process including the emergency control of new and dangerous drugs. as a part of our work, fda conducts the medical evaluation, sometimes sometimes referred to as factor analysis which is the basis for the recommendation to the dea about the appropriate level of control or substance that has the potential to be abused. the factors are spelled out in my written testimony. that evaluation involves a careful evaluation of many kinds of data. to help us understand a drugs abuse potential. once complete our analysis is shared with the national institute on drug abuse and then sent to hhs who then transmits recommendation to the dea for final decision-making. under the controlled substances, depending on their abuse potential, for today schedule
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one is the highest level of control. drugs have a high potential for abuse with no currently accepted medical use and lack of safety use under medical supervision. in addition to this work, they also have a role in the emergency or non- temporary scheduling that you have referred to. the da content temporarily place it in the schedule. they provide information about whether a given substance is an approved drug project or subject of an investigational study. we also participate in the final scheduling action following the emergency action. the scientific and medical evaluation process to determine the appropriate level of control for a substance balances the important need to protect the public from the dangers posed by drugs and substances of abuse while at the same time seeks to provide access to these drugs. researchers, finally in addition
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to its role they work with the department of justice including the dea and other state and federal agencies to support criminal investigation involving the illegal sale, use of controlled substances. with this background, i want to turn to the emerging public health threat of the psychoactive substances. they have been actively involved with the dea to determine what needed to be done. recently we completed a memorandum of understanding with the dea that the ability to share confidential information and facilitate the work together. between 2011 and 2016, we were able to respond to all da across for recommendations and permanent scheduling. most of them were emergency schedule and then permanently controlled under it later. we are working with the dea to do even better. by improving the process of drug scheduling within that mac of
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the synthetic drug prevention act of 2012 referred to earlier as a part of the safety act, scheduling certain drugs can be done based on reduced amount of information. using this approach the fda has been able to evaluate 16 substances to make recommendations for permanent scheduling by dea. extending this approach we have also been able to apply a similar way to look at new bath salts. these are highly dangerous. there substances that have severe toxic effects including death. we recognize the difficult challenges of controlling these substances both in light of the harm of the public health observed and that chemists can rapidly alter it to stay ahead of regulators. placing these in a schedule one can help protect but the same


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