(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced she will be introducing legislation to simplify enforcement against producers and suppliers of dangerous synthetic drugs – often referred to as K2, spice, and Scooby Snax – by broadening the classification of what constitutes a prohibited synthetic drug. The emergency legislation will update the existing drug classification system to enhance the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to go after synthetic drug dealers. The “Revised Synthetics Abatement and Full Enforcement Drug Control Emergency Act of 2018” bans chemical compounds often found in synthetic drugs based on the class of the chemical compound, rather than the individual compound.
“When people are bringing deadly drugs into our community, we need to be able to hold them accountable,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we continue working to get these drugs off our streets, we are asking the community to help us save lives by calling 911 if they see someone exhibiting signs of an overdose.”
The District has seen a recent spike in overdoses caused by synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic opioids. According to Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS), from July 14 through September 23, 2018, FEMS treated or transported 1,663 patients to hospitals for symptoms consistent with synthetic drug overdoses.
The “Revised Synthetics Abatement and Full Enforcement Drug Control Emergency Act of 2018” builds on legislation introduced by Mayor Bowser in 2015 that enables the Mayor to suspend or revoke the business license of any business engaged in the buying or selling of synthetic drugs. That legislation, which became permanent in 2017, gave the Metropolitan Police Department the authority to close businesses for up to 96 hours for the buying or selling of a synthetic drug.
This emergency measure would reinstate emergency legislation that was originally introduced by the Office of the Attorney General and passed by Council in 2016, but which expired in 2017.
Residents dealing with substance use or addiction can call 311 to learn more about treatment programs available in Washington, DC.