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Senator works alongside law enforcement to fight synthetic drugs

Spice, bath salts and glass cleaner. These are all names of synthetic drugs that have been plaguing Arizona communities. And to stay ahead of the law, the criminals make minor changes to the chemical makeup of the drugs. Then smoke shops and websites sell the drugs, claiming they are not for human consumption. People are of course using the designer drugs, and many are ending up in the emergency room.

Senator Linda Gray is leading the fight to block these dangerous drugs from getting in the hands of users, mostly young people. In July, she worked with Senate President Russell Pearce to organize a meeting inFlagstaff with law enforcement from around the state. Participants learned what options exist to protect communities from new synthetic drugs. In October, Senator Gray held another meeting with experts to focus on international drug labs concocting new versions of synthetic drugs to skirt the law.

A wide-ranging group has been working on the plan, including police, prosecutors, drug lab experts, the Attorney General’s Office, the courts and the Pharmacy Association.

“We plan to work with the Pharmacy Board to add drugs to the list of controlled substances, preventing them from being sold legally. The Board follows a strict set of criteria and goes through an emergency rule-making process,” says Senator Gray.

“There are too many casualties in this battle. Calls are pouring in to poison control centers and ER visits are increasing because of these synthetic drugs.”

Senator Gray is working closely with Representative Karen Fann on this issue and they expect more details on their proposal as the legislative session nears.

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