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Katko pushes legislation to combat synthetic marijuana "epidemic"

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It is a role Teresa Woolson never thought she would have to play - advocate to get synthetic drugs off the streets.

Her son, Victor, was a student at Cayuga Community College in 2012 when he died after using a store-bought synthetic drug.

"He was just a great kid and not doing anything wrong, or illegal, and he died. And I don't want it to happen anymore," Woolson said.

Woolson got a powerful ally in her fight on Monday.

Rep. John Katko is pushing for legislation to combat what he calls a synthetic drug "epidemic."

If passed, the bipartisan legislation will change the classification of 13 synthetic fentanyls, which are known to be highly addictive and have caused at least 162 deaths is the U.S.

"Is an incredible step forward in our effort to provide swifter action to stop the lawful importation and distribution of synthetic drugs and to give our law enforcement the effective tools they need to keep our community safe," Katko said.

The legislation will also allow the attorney general to change the classification of a drug within 30 days.

It is a process that would take years in the past.

It will allow law enforcement to move quickly to get the drug off the streets.

Syracuse police chief, Frank Fowler, said officers respond every day to someone who has overdosed or are sick after using synthetic drugs.

"As law enforcement, in order for us to effectively combat a problem like this we need to have effective tools in our tool box. If we don't have those effective tools, what happens is that the people who are bringing this poison into our community will continue to do so," Fowler said.

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