Press Releases

Spanberger Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Crack Down on Narcotics Traffickers, Strengthen Nationwide Fight against Fentanyl & Counterfeit Drugs

The CAST Act Would Define & Toughen Penalties for Those Using Illicit Drug Molds to Bolster Drug Trafficking Operations

Washington, October 4, 2019

HENRICO, V.A. —  U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger—a Member of the bipartisan Freshman Working Group on Addiction—announced her introduction of a bipartisan, bicameral bill to deter narcotics traffickers from using illicit pill presses to manufacture counterfeit drugs.

As the opioid epidemic continues to impact communities across the country, drug traffickers have turned to counterfeit drug manufacturing as another strategy to profit from opioid abuse and addiction. These molds can easily be purchased online, and they are often used to produce drugs designed to mimic legitimate pharmaceutical products. Currently, this practice is prohibited by law—but the penalty is not defined.

Spanberger’s Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act would address this enforcement issue by modifying the Controlled Substances Act to clearly define the criminal penalty for making counterfeit drugs using a pill press. Additionally, her legislation would stiffen penalties for those who use pill presses to create and distribute counterfeit drugs—including opioids.

“In Central Virginia and across the country, families, businesses, and entire communities continue to face immense challenges due to the opioid epidemic. As this public health crisis grows, 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—supported by Democrats and Republicans in both Houses of Congress—would help crack down on the production of counterfeit drugs via illicit pill press molds. By deterring drug traffickers and those who produce illicit drugs, we are taking another step in a multi-faceted approach in the fight against fentanyl—and I’ll keep working with my colleagues to prevent overdoses, increase access to wraparound treatment, and pave more pathways to long-term recovery. I’m proud to stand alongside Congressman Kustoff as we introduce this legislation, and I’d like to thank Senators Cassidy and Hassan for introducing our legislation in the Senate.”

Spanberger’s CAST Act makes possession of a press mold with intent to counterfeit schedule I or II substances a crime within the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, the bipartisan legislation would increase by two levels the offense level of making or selling controlled substances in conjunction with possession of a pill press mold.

The CAST Act is supported by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, and the Partnership for Safe Medicines.

Spanberger introduced the legislation in the U.S. House alongside U.S. Representative David Kustoff (R-TN-08). A companion bill is led by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the U.S. Senate.

Click here to read the full bill text.

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