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TESTIMONY OF

THE HONORABLE CHARLES B. RANGEL

CHAIRMAN

SELECT COMMITTEE ON NARCOTICS ABUSE AND CONTROL

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

CRIME SUBCOMMITTEE

ON

DESIGNER DRUGS

THURSDAY, MAY 1, 1986

Good morning. I am pleased to have the opportunity to testify today regarding a bill I introduced, H.R. 2014, to require the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board to provide a comprehensive assessment of the designer drug problem and make recommendations to Congress for necessary legislation. I am also a co sponsor of H.R. 2977, "'Designer Drug'

"Designer Drug' Enforcement Act of 1985" sponsored by Congressman Dan Lungren of California.

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The trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs are problems of staggering proportions in the United States today. The dimensions of these problems have become all too familiar. The House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, which I have the privilege to chair, estimates that 12 tons of heroin, 150 tons of cocaine, and 30,000 tons of marijuana will be smuggled into the United States in 1986. The production of illicit drug crops abroad continues unabated, and in our own country illicit marijuana has become a major cash crop in a number of States.

Domestically, the illicit drug trade is a $110 billion a year industry. Drugs are responsible for much of the street crime that grips our nation. Levels of drug abuse in our nation, particularly among our young people, exceed those of other industrialized nations of the worid. The social costs of drug abuse such as crime, lost productivity, and increased demand for health and social services, approach another $100 billion.

Since about 1980 a new form of drugs

form of drugs and drug abuse has occurred - the designer drugs. It is only within about the last two years, however, that these drugs have received much public attention. Designer drugs are analogs, or "chemical cousins, of controlled substances. They are produced in an effort to circumvent the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act. They differ from controlled substances only in slight modifications of chemical structure. Hence these analogs frequently produce effects indistinguishable from those of the controlled substances they mimic. But because they are different and distinct chemical analogs not listed under the Controlled Substances Act, they are not covered under that statute. Violations of the CSA, for the most part, are tied to precisely defined chemical substances, so individuals manufacturing or distributing these designer drug analogs do not violate the Act. Only after a specific designer drug substance is scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act can law enforcement take actions against those illegally handling such a substance. A competent chemist need only change the substance slightly to again stay ahead of the law.

The number of analogs is virtually limitless. Legal substitutes can be made for almost every controlled synthetic drug, creating a law enforcement nightmare. Designer drugs are sub

ject to no quality controls on potency or purity, thus exposing users to unknown dangers. Designer drugs are cheap to make and the profits to be realized enormous.A $2,000 investment in equipment and chemicals can yield in two weeks time 200 million dosage units of drugs, with a potential street value of $70 billion. In December 1985, a Ph.D. chemist employed by the DuPont Company was arrested and charged with manufacturing and distributing more than $1 million worth of a synthetic heroin substitute, 3-methyl-fentanyl. One ounce of 3-methyl-fentanyl is equivalent to 62 pounds of pure heroin, or 3,000 pounds of street heroin.

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The clandestine manufacture of controlled substance analogs was first encountered in the late 1960's, with several hallucinogenic drugs similar to LSD. In the 1970's, chemical analogs of PCP were prevalent. However, it was in the 1980's, with the creation of extremely potent analogs similar to heroin, or "synthetic heroin," that the real crisis developed. These narcotic analogs fall into two major types - analogs of fentanyl (Sublimaze) and analogs of meperidine (Deme rol). Both of these substances are legitimate pharmaceutical drugs.

Fentanyl is a short-acting, highly potent narcotic, which is used as a surgical anesthetic. Analogs of this, heroin-like drug can be as much as 750 times as potent as heroin and post a grave danger through overdose. They have been linked to over 100 deaths in recent years, mostly in California. These drugs are extremely potent; only minute quantities are necessary to produce the desired effects. The analogs of meperidine pose another very serious health threat. MPPP is the major illicit drug analog of meperidine. The synthesis of MPPP, unless performed under carefully controlled conditions, results in a highly toxic by-product known

known as MPTP, which produces an irreversible syndrome like Parkinson's Disease. To date, this syndrome has afflicted a number of users of MPTP in California. Still more people, who has not yet shown signs of the disease, have been exposed to MPTP thinking it

to MPTP thinking it was a new synthetic heroin.

Another popular controlled substance analog is MDMA, known by its more familiar name, Ecstasy. MDMA was used by a small group of psychiatrists as

as an adjunct to

adjunct to psychotherapy, even though the FDA has not approved this use. Unlike the herointype analogs which have been geographically limited, MDMA abuse has become a nationwide problem. Individuals who have taken MDMA have reported severe anxiety

anxiety reactions, paranoia, fear, sleep problems, and depression.

What can be done about controlled substance analogs? The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1986 (P.L. 96-473) included authority, requested by the Administration, to allow the Attorney General to schedule uncontrolled substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act on an emergency basis, if such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety. Schedule I is reserved for dangerous drugs of abuse that have no legal medical use, such as heroin or marijuana.

a substance is temporarily placed into Schedule I of the CSA using the emergency scheduling provision, traditional scheduling procedures must be initiated within one year or the scheduling action will be vacated. Since April 1985, the emergency scheduling provisions of the CSA have been used five times to temporarily place 13 drugs into Schedule I.

Chairman Hughes, and Members of the Subcommittee, H.R. 2014 would require the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board to provide a comprehensive assessment of the designer drug problem and make recommendations to Congress for necessary legislation. As you are probably aware, H.R. 2014 is identical to S.746, sponsored by Senator Lawton Chiles of Florida. We introduced this legislation to focus national attention on the problem of controlled substance analogs and to stimulate the Administration to act on the issue. This objective was accomplished when the Administration introduced s. 1437/H.R. 2977. DEA also has prepared a report on the designer drug problem, which is responsive to the legislation I have introduced. Mr. Chairman, I ask that the DEA report entitled Controlled Substance Analogs be placed in the record as an attachment to my prepared testimony.

On December 18, 1985, the Senate passed s. 1437, the "Controlled Substance Analogs' Enforcement Act of 1985." would make it unlawful to manufacture with the intent to distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or distribute a controlled substance analog for human consumption, unless such action is in conformance with the new drug approval provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The term controlled substance analog means a substance that has a chemical structure substantially similar to that of a controlled substance in Schedules I or II, or that was specifically designed to produce an effect substantially similar to that of a controlled substance in Schedules I or II. Maximum penalties for manufacture or distribution are a fine of $250,000 and imprisonment for 15 years.

The Senate-passed bill also contains a provision not found in H.R. 2977. s. 1437 would make it a crime to possess a designer drug which is intended for human consumption. Violators would be fined not more than $25,000, or

than $25,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Mr. Chairman, I support passage of H.R. 2977 and urge the Crime Subcommittee to act on it expeditiously. When the congress passes this measure, we will send a clear message to all those who deal in controlled substance analogs that they are seriously endangering the public health for financial gain, and if apprehended will be subject to severe penalties. I do not believe that passage of any one bill by itself will end America's drug problem, but passage of this legislation would add a significant additional sanction to assist law enforcement officials in their continuing battle to curtail drug abuse.

Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittee, I note that H.R. 3936, sponsored by Congressman Lawrence Smith is also the subject of this hearing.

This bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act to create enhanced penalties against adults who use children in the distribution of controlled substances. would also provide that any person who knowingly or intentionally manufactures with intent to distribute, possesses with intent to distribute, or distributes a designer drug intended for human consumption shall be fined not more than $250,000, or imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both. These are the same penalties

same penalties imposed under the Administration proposal. Finally, H.R. 3936 would require the Attorney General to conduct a study of the need for legislation, regulation, or alternative methods to control the diversion of legitimate precursor and essential chemicals to the illegal production of drugs of abuse. The Attorney General would be required to report all findings of such study to Congress not later than the end of the 90th day after the date of enactment of H.R. 3936. This portion of Congressman Smith's bill is identical to H.R. 3919, "Precursor and Essential Chemicals Review Act of 1985" which I introduced on November 21, 1985. Senator Chiles of Florida also introduced this legislation as s. 1746.

the primary purpose of drug abuse prevention and education programs is to deter

to deter children and adolescents from using drugs, it is appropriate to provide increased penalties for adults who use children

children to distribute a controlled substance. Adults who take advantage of the immaturity of many children and adolescents for their own financial gain, should be punished more severely. You may wish to consider including in any designer drug legislation you report to the Judiciary Committee an amendment to require the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide the Committee with an annual status report over a period of 5 years on the dramatically expanding domestic illicit manufacture, traffic and abuse of designer drugs and other synthetic narcotic and psychotropic substances and what action including legislation DEA would recommend to control the problem.

I will be pleased to answer any questions Members of the Subcommittee may have.

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