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[Congressional Record: May 25, 2000 (House)]
[Page H3857-3858]

CLUB DRUG ANTI-PROLIFERATION ACT OF 2000

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Illinois (Mrs. Biggert) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with my colleague from California (Mr. Rogan) to introduce the Club Drug Antiproliferation Act of 2000, legislation to combat the recent rise in trafficking, distribution and abuse of club drugs such as Ecstasy, Liquid Ecstasy, Speed and PMA. Club drugs refer to drugs being used by young adults at all-night dance parties such as raves or trances, dance clubs and bars. Young Americans are lured into a belief that club drugs are safe ways to get high, escape reality, and enhance intimacy. The drug traffickers make their living off of perpetuating and exploiting this myth. The Office of National Drug Control Policy's year 2000 Annual Report on the National Drug Control Strategy clearly states that the use of club drugs is on the rise in the United States, particularly among teenagers and young professionals. Data also reflects the increasing availability of club drugs in metropolitan centers and suburban communities. In a speech to the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation earlier this year, the United States Customs Commissioner, Raymond Kelly, stated that in the first few months of fiscal year 2000, the Customs Service already had seized over 4 million tablets of Ecstasy, an immensely popular club drug. He estimates that the number will grow to at least 8 million tablets by the end of the year, representing a substantial increase from 500,000 tablets seized in fiscal year 1997.

Do not be fooled by the innocent term ``club drugs;'' no club drug is benign. Chronic abuse of club drugs appears to produce long-term damage to the brain, and sometimes the damage caused by club drugs can do more than harm the brain. It can be deadly. Recently in my district in Illinois, a Naperville Central High School student died after ingesting a very powerful party drug called PMA. Sadly, Federal law does not take club drugs seriously enough. For example, under current Federal sentencing guidelines, one gram of Ecstasy is equivalent to only 35 grams of marijuana. In contrast, one gram of methamphetamine is equivalent to 2 kilograms of marijuana. These weak sentencing guidelines result in relatively short periods of incarceration for individuals sentenced for Ecstasy-related crimes. When the potential profitability of this drug is weighed against the potential punishment, it is easy to see what makes club drugs extremely interactive to professional smugglers. {time} 1600

Mr. Speaker, the Club Drug Antiproliferation Act of 2000 addresses this fast-growing and disturbing problem. First, the bill addresses the base [[Page H3858]] level offense for club drug-related crimes, making those crimes equal to that of trafficking methamphetamine. This provision also accomplishes the goal of effectively lowering the amount of drugs required for a swift prosecution sending a message to Federal prosecutors that club drugs are a serious threat. Second, through law enforcement and community education programs, this bill will provide for a national club drug information campaign. As more Americans are made aware of the unpredictable impurities and side effects of club drugs, it is our hope that law enforcement will begin to see a dramatic reduction in the quantities of club drugs present on our streets.

Let us do what we can to save our children from the fate of that young high school student in our district. Mr. Speaker, the Club Drug Antiproliferation Act of 2000 can only help in our fight against drug abuse in the United States. I urge all of my colleagues to join the gentleman from California (Mr. Rogan) and myself in this important effort by cosponsoring this bill.

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