Mayor's Association - In The News - Nov. 2012

Clarksburg Hosted the November, Harrison County Mayor's Associaton Meeting

A Primary Discussion at the Meeting Was Ways to Fight the Synthetic Drug Market

logo exponent-telegram mountainPosted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 11:31 pm
by Jim Davis STAFF WRITER | 0 comments

CLARKSBURG — The Harrison County Mayors' Association on Wednesday night discussed efforts to combat synthetic drug abuse by going after the marketing of the substances.
Elizabeth Shahan, with the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, presented the mayors with a draft ordinance that would outlaw bath salts, K-2 and similar substances based on labeling.

"I hope it's a tool (law enforcement) can utilize that will allow for immediate confiscation of the substances," Shahan said. Existing laws address the chemical makeup of synthetic drugs, Shahan said. The problem is chemists can circumvent the laws by altering the chemical composition, she added. It also takes nine months to a year for the State Police crime lab to determine the chemical compounds of a substance, Shahan said. The draft ordinance, based on an existing measure in Mount Carmel Township, Pa., puts more emphasis on the names that bath salts and other synthetic drugs are sold under, Shahan said. Law enforcement could pull the substances from the store shelves of head shops without having to send them away for chemical analysis, Shahan said. Also, the proposed fines would hopefully deter users from buying and put a crimp on sellers, she said.

Bridgeport Mayor Jim Christie asked if outlawing any derivatives of existing compounds would address the chemical compound loopholes.

Not really, because some of the derivatives might also be used in medications such as insulin, Shahan replied.

Shinnston Mayor Sam DeMarco, who is the association's president, asked if a lawyer has looked at the draft ordinance.

Shahan said no and urged the mayors to present the proposal to their cities' legal counsels.

Shahan said Harrison County remains No. 1 in the state for bath salt abuse. There has been a decline in incidents related to bath salts, but Shahan said she didn't know if it was due to aggressive enforcement or less reporting.  

Synthetic bath salts are said to increase blood pressure and heart rate and cause agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusion; they often mimic the symptoms of cocaine use. K-2 is a synthetic marijuana.