U.S. Reps. David Kustoff (R-TN) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) re-introduced the Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act Wednesday.
The legislation would modify the Controlled Substances Act to define the criminal penalty for making counterfeit drugs using a pill press. Currently, the law bans the practice but doesn’t define the penalty for doing so. The CAST Act would make possessing a pill press with the intent to make counterfeit schedule I or II substances a crime and establish a sentence of up to 20 years for possession alone.
“The opioid epidemic has ravaged our communities in West Tennessee and across our nation. Unfortunately, as we continue to battle COVID-19, the opioid crisis has only grown worse. We owe it to our loved ones to take stronger action to fight back against this public health emergency. The CAST Act is the much-needed, bold step forward in this fight,” Kustoff said. “It will increase penalties against possession of harmful drugs and pill press molds, helping to combat the illegal drug market and the dangers it presents to our citizens and our brave law enforcement officers across the nation.”
The Congressmembers said the law would prevent overdoses and reduce fentanyl-related deaths.
“Families, businesses, and entire communities in Virginia continue to face immense challenges due to opioid abuse. As this public health crisis significantly worsens as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also face the threat of extremely dangerous substances — such as fentanyl — being pressed into illicit pills and sold on our streets,” said Spanberger. “This bill would help crackdown on the production of counterfeit drugs via illicit pill press molds. By deterring drug traffickers and those who produce illicit drugs, we would take another step in the fight against fentanyl-related deaths.”