Tougher Synthetic Drug Penalties Proposed

Rep. Ben Waide proposes new penalties against those making or possessing synthetic drugs.
The Tri-State has a meth epidemic and a potential heroin problem.  Now, police and lawmakers in Kentucky are worried about another type of drug: synthetics. A bill was introduced in the General Assembly targeting synthetic drug manufacturers.

The drugs are fake.

"There's Spice. They have all these creative names. Sometimes it's Scooby Snacks," says Madisonville Police Chief Wade Williams. But the problems are real.

"I spoke to a physician from Baptist Health, and he talked about how he saw a patient who had taken a synthetic drug one time, and a month later, he was still psychotic," says Rep. Ben Waide, (R)-Hopkins County. 

Kentucky lawmakers proposed what they think is a real solution to the synthetic drug epidemic. Waide filed a bill that increases penalties for possession and trafficking synthetic drugs.  Trafficking an ounce or more would be a felony, while possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor.

"We didn't want to accidentally catch somebody who did a stupid mistake in college," says Waide. "We want to make sure we're targeting those who do it on purpose and who know what they're doing."

Officials say there were twenty overdose deaths involving mixed drug use last year.  Williams says they're seeing more cases involving synthetics in recent years. He adds the tougher penalties should send a real message.

"What we're finding is the drug manufcaturers are making this one chemical staying ahead of the law. This law does a good job in counteracting that, and tries to blanket as many of those products as possible," he says.

Waide says while this year's session is more than half way done, he's hopeful the bill can be passed before the end of this session. 
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