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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rubin talk about bipartisan bill that will help law enforcement combat opioid epidemic

Senator Amy Klobuchar held a news conference with St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin to highlight new bipartisan legislation that will make it easier for law enforcement and prosecutors to arrest and charge those who sell and distribute “analogue” drugs. Shown L-R are: Patrick Hey, who has become an advocate after his daughter died of an opioid overdose; Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin; and Lt. Jeff Kazel, Commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force. Submitted / St. Louis County

DULUTH, Minn. — U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar held a news conference Monday at the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office to highlight her bipartisan Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act that is awaiting the President’s signature as a part of a larger bipartisan bill to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Senator Klobuchar was joined by St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, as well as local law enforcement officials and a Northland man who lost his daughter to a fentanyl overdose, as she discussed the legislation, which will make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of “analogue” drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs.

As a former Hennepin County attorney, Klobuchar has long led local and national efforts to curb drug abuse and help people overcome addiction. Earlier this week, three of her bipartisan bills to combat the opioid epidemic have passed the Senate as part of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act and now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), will make it easier to prosecute the sale and distribution of “analogue” drugs, which are synthetic substances that are substantially similar to illegal drugs. The Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) will help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States.

The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), will help crack down on health care facilities or providers that try to game the system to take advantage of vulnerable patients.

In February, Klobuchar and Senators Portman, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 2.0 Act. The bill would increase the funding authorization levels for the CARA programs enacted in 2016 and put in place additional policy reforms to help combat the opioid epidemic.

To build on the monumental first step of CARA, Klobuchar also introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act, which would require the use of strong prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in all states that receive certain federal funding to combat opioid abuse and also requires states to make their PDMP data available to other states. Last year, she and ten other senators introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment (LifeBOAT) Act, which would establish a reliable funding stream to provide and expand access to substance abuse treatment.