WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and U.S. Reps. David Kustoff (R-TN) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation to stiffen penalties for those who use pill press to make counterfeit drugs, including opioids.
The Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act modifies the Controlled Substances Act to define the criminal penalty for making counterfeit drugs using a pill press. Current law prohibits this practice but does not define the penalty.
The CAST Act makes possession of a press mold with intent to counterfeit schedule I or II substances a crime. It also increases the offense level of making or selling controlled substances in conjunction with a possessing a pill press mold by at least two levels. Violations of the act would carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
“Illegal pill presses subject innocent families to counterfeit drugs. The CAST Act strengthens law enforcement’s ability to keep dangerous substances out of our communities so that families can know their medicines are authentic,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“We must give law enforcement the tools necessary to crack down on criminals who manufacture counterfeit pills,” said Senator Hassan. “I’ll keep working with Senator Cassidy and our colleagues in the House to advance this bipartisan legislation that will help strengthen our efforts to combat substance misuse and keep our communities safe.”
“Across our country, families and communities are being torn apart by the opioid crisis. We owe it to our loved ones to take stronger action to fight back against this epidemic. The CAST Act is the much needed, bold step forward in this fight. 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 people across our nation. I look forward to its swift passage,” said Rep. David Kustoff.
“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 Rep. Spanberger. “This bill—supported by Democrats and Republicans—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.”