Editorial: A smart bill targeting synthetic drugs is neededIt’s about time the Minnesota Legislature took firm action on the sale of synthetic drugs in the state.
It’s about time the Minnesota Legislature took firm action on the sale of synthetic drugs in the state.
The manufactured substances, which mimic the effects of actual drugs, have created an entirely new front in the legal and medical campaigns against dangerous drugs. But until now, attempts at effective control and enforcement have been left to local jurisdictions. The patchwork of local laws has not worked well.
Several cities have tried to deal with synthetic drugs, including Hastings. But when only a discreet jurisdiction takes action the practical effect is the drugs are trafficked from jurisdictions without law enforcement and legal controls. In border cities, for example, the problem can be compounded when a neighboring state has tough laws and Minnesota has a patchwork of local laws.
A tough, specific and focused state law – similar to laws dealing with non-synthetic illegal drugs – is the best way to go for the state and for local governments. Once law enforcement and the legal system can count on a statewide, harmonized approach to synthetic drugs, the job of enforcement is easier.
The Legislature banned a few synthetic drugs last year, but a simple ban has not solved the problem. A new bill adds more substances to the banned list and mandates the Board of Pharmacy to speed the process of outlawing synthetic drugs, which will make it easier to keep up with the proliferation of the chemical substances. Drug makers have been able to simply shift their formulas to keep the drugs legal, and this bill would address that.
The Legislature should move quickly. As one bill sponsor said, head shop owners have not yet gotten the message. The new legislation can send a message they can’t ignore.
The new law obviously isn’t working in Hastings. Just two weeks ago, one Hastings teen was rushed to the hospital after passing out after using synthetic drugs. Another teen with him was also transported. There have been too many close calls with these drugs in Hastings, and too many tragedies across the state.
Forum Communications Co. editorial