GOP senator files bill mandating social media cooperation with law enforcement against drug trafficking, bipartisan senators file bill to ease access to fentanyl test strips, and more.
Rick Scott Files Social Media Act to Combat Online Drug Sales. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on Friday introduced the Stopping Online Confusion for Investigative Agencies and Law Enforcement by Maintaining Evidence Determined Interparty Arrangements (SOCIAL MEDIA) Act to combat the sale of fentanyl and other illicit drugs on social media platforms. The SOCIAL MEDIA Act will allow for better law enforcement coordination in criminal cases with social media platforms by requiring 24/7 staffed-in-the-USA call centers for fielding information requests with clear guidelines for agencies to best expedite the process. This bill will promote enhanced data collection, transparency in the data collected, and uniformity in data presented to better compare platform to platform on their efforts to combat illegal drug sales.
The SOCIAL MEDIA Act fhas been endorsed by the National Sheriffs' Association, the Partnership for Safe Medicine and the Major County Sheriffs of America.
FDA Approves Second Over-the-Counter Naloxone Nasal Spray Product. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved RiVive, 3 milligram (mg) naloxone hydrochloride nasal spray for over the counter (OTC), nonprescription use for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. This is the second nonprescription naloxone product the agency has approved, helping increase consumer access to naloxone without a prescription. The timeline for availability and the price of this nonprescription product will be determined by the manufacturer.
"We know naloxone is a powerful tool to help quickly reverse the effects of opioids during an overdose. Ensuring naloxone is widely available, especially as an approved OTC product, makes a critical tool available to help protect public health," said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. "The agency has long prioritized access to naloxone products, and we welcome manufacturers of other naloxone products to discuss potential nonprescription development programs with the FDA."
The FDA has taken a series of steps to help facilitate access to opioid overdose reversal products and to decrease unnecessary exposure to opioids and prevent new cases of addiction. The agency approved the first nonprescription naloxone nasal spray product in March 2023, the first generic nonprescription naloxone nasal spray product in July 2023 and over the last year has undertaken new efforts to expand opioid disposal options in an effort to reduce opportunities for nonmedical use, accidental exposure and overdose.
The FDA granted the nonprescription approval of RiVive to Harm Reduction Therapeutics.
Bipartisan Senate Bill to Increase Access to Fentanyl Test Strips Filed. A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday filed a bill to clarify that the federal drug paraphernalia statute excludes fentanyl test strips, which remain criminalized as drug paraphernalia under state laws in more than 20 states.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are all cosponsors of the Fentanyl Safe Testing and Overdose Prevention Act. Companion legislation, HR 3653 was introduced in May in the House.
"This legislation would help prevent deaths due to fentanyl poisoning by giving people the tools to identify it, and I urge my colleagues to pass it without delay," Cornyn said. His state, Texas, has experienced one of the nation's worst rates of fentanyl overdoses, which skyrocketed nearly 600% over the last year, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.
The Fentanyl Safe Testing and Overdose Prevention Act would also apply to test strips for xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer approved by the Food and Drug Administration only for veterinary use. Officials have warned the public that the sedative, which has been found to be mixed with fentanyl in several states, can create a deadly drug cocktail.
Singapore Hangs Woman Drug Offender for First Time in 20 Years; Second Drug Execution This Week. Singaporean national Saridewi Djamani was executed Friday in the first known execution of a woman in Singapore since 2004. She was found guilty of possession of around 30 grams of diamorphine (heroin) for the purposes of trafficking. A Singaporean Malay man, Mohd Aziz bin Hussain, was executed on Wednesday after being found guilty in 2018 for trafficking around 50 grams of diamorphine (heroin). Both had been sentenced to the mandatory death penalty in 2018.
Singapore has now executed 15 people for drug related offenses since March 2022, when executions resumed after a hiatus of two years. Four of these were known to have been carried out in 2023. Singapore's close neighbour Malaysia has observed an official moratorium on executions since 2018 and has recently repealed the mandatory death penalty, including for drug-related offences. The Transformative Justice Collective reported that a third execution has been set for 3 August, of a man convicted and sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for possession of 54 grams of diamorphine for the purpose of trafficking.
Both the UNODC and the INCB -- two UN bodies in charge of developing and monitoring drug policies -- have condemned the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences and have urged governments to move towards abolition. Singapore is one of only four countries, alongside China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where executions for drug-related offences were confirmed in 2022.