State Senate approves McCarter measure targeting synthetic drugs

Springfield — A new tactic to combat dangerous synthetic or designer street drugs, approved by the Illinois Senate Thursday, protects young people and represents the best effort by lawmakers to stop the epidemic of addiction and harm, according to State Sen. Kyle McCarter.

Sen. McCarter said Senate Bill 1129 targets the drugs in a way that is unique from past attempts to make them illegal. The new legislation targets the basic chemical structure of the drugs.

“The legal definition has been bypassed many times by one change in the formula to produce the new drug,” said McCarter (R-Lebanon). “What this bill does is make the entire chemical structure illegal, which gets in front of all the future variations of the synthetics known as ‘cannabinoids’ and ‘cathinones’ and makes them illegal.”

Sen. McCarter says if SB1129 is eventually approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor it will be one of the toughest laws of any state in the nation. The legislation is based in part on a similar law passed in Rhode Island in 2013.

Synthetic drugs are commonly known by names such as K-2, Spice, Yucatan Fire and others. They often can be purchased at convenience stores as an over-the-counter product.

The legislation has special meaning to McCarter and his family, having lost a daughter to a drug overdose. He said he has spoken with other parents in his Senate District who’ve had similar experiences.

“This is one thing we can be proud of, showing leadership in this country, to aggressively go after these drugs to protect young people and do the best we can to stop this epidemic,” said McCarter.

The 54th District Senator is hosting a district-wide townhall meeting on synthetic drugs on June 4, 2015 at the Vandalia Junior High School, from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabinoids and cathinones are synthetic versions of marijuana, but with more severe and dangerous consequences including seizures, hallucinations and death.

The carnage left by the use of these drugs is piling up. There are numerous stories from across the nation. In the last 10 days there have been an estimated 22 deaths and over 2400 hospitalizations because of synthetic drugs.