City of Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler testifies before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce on the need to reform laws banning synthetic substances
Washington, D.C. – On February 28th, City of Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler urged the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to move legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) to combat the synthetic drug epidemic. Video of Chief Fowler’s testimony can be found here.
Katko’s bill, the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act, is bipartisan, bicameral legislation which modernizes the Controlled Substances Act and outlaws 13 synthetic fentanyls that have been identified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as an immediate threat to public health.
“I’m honored to have Chief Fowler in Washington today and grateful for his willingness to outline the horrors of synthetic drug use in our community,” said Rep. Katko. “In Syracuse and throughout Central New York, we’ve seen record surges in synthetic drug overdoses and our law enforcement are on the front lines combating this epidemic. The legislation I’ve introduced will help stop the unlawful importation and distribution of synthetic drugs and give our law enforcement the tools they need to keep our community safe.”
In his testimony, Chief Fowler highlighted the influx of synthetic opioids in Syracuse and the difficulty of keeping these substances off the street.
Chief Fowler urged support for the legislation, stating, “We’ve been plagued by a synthetic drug epidemic in Syracuse. This legislation will provide tougher penalties to the people responsible for bringing these dangerous substances into our community, and help rid our streets of these poisons.”
Toxic, synthetic drugs are designed to mimic street drugs like marijuana, LSD, cocaine, Ecstasy and other hard drugs. They can be more potent than the real thing and just as deadly. Currently, manufacturers and distributors of these substances are able to slightly alter the chemical structure of drugs to avoid law enforcement scrutiny and prosecution.
Earlier this year, Rep. Katko was joined in Washington by Central New York advocate Teresa Woolson in urging Congress to take up the SITSA Act.
Congressman Katko represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and the western portion of Oswego County. For more information visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.