Tilley proposes broad ban on synthetic drugs and will take up bill in committee on Wednesday

02/28/2012 05:33 PM

Rep. John Tilley, a Democrat from Hopkinsville, filed legislation on Tuesday that would crack down on synthetic drug use in the commonwealth by strengthening sanctions against those who sell the drugs.

Flanked by state and local law enforcement, a toxicology expert and representatives from both sides of the aisle, Tilley described how House Bill 481 would ban possession and sale of whole classes of synthetic drugs which he said, “would curtail underground chemists from switching a formula to get around a ban on specific chemical substances.”

The measure is expected to come up Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee that Tilley chairs.

There have been several recent cases of Kentuckians dying or injuring others after ingesting synthetic drugs, such as “bath salts.”

“We’ve also had heart attacks in 17-year-olds and 20-year-olds and 17-year-olds do not have heart attacks,” said Henry Spiller, expert toxicologist and Director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center. “Using these drugs are close to playing Russian roulette.”

House Bill 481, if passed, would change the law to treat synthetic drugs as “real” or “traditional” drugs. Which would mean the penalties for use, sale and possession would more closely mirror state drugs laws.

“If your family has not been touched by this awful addictive problem, with all kinds of illegal drugs that we have in Kentucky then you should go home tonight and get on your knees and thank your god, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, said as he underscored Tilley’s push for this legislation.

“I did file legislation, but I think yours goes further and will further take care of the problem we have in Kentucky,” said Republican Rep. Danny Ford of Mount Vernon. “It shows when you have a problem in Kentucky, when there is a real issue that we as legislators on both sides of the aisle can come together.”

Tilley sponsored a bill last year that outlawed the possession and trafficking of synthetic drugs with the street name “dove.” That bill unanimously passed the House and Senate and Gov. Steve Beshear signed it into law on March 16, 2011.


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