Important Synthetic Drug Bill Sent to Governor

June 28, 2013

Harrisburg, PA – A bill to update Pennsylvania’s ban on synthetic drugs passed the state Senate today and will soon be sent to the governor’s desk.  The bill, H.B. 1217 (Stern, R-Blair), focuses on helping law enforcement keep up with the substances illicit chemists use to manufacture dangerous drugs that skirt the law and have had tragic results in communities across Pennsylvania.

“Synthetic drugs are not safe drugs,” said Shawn Wagner, PDAA president and Adams County District Attorney.  “These are very real, very dangerous drugs that have been created specifically to get around the law.

On behalf of district attorneys across Pennsylvania, we want to thank the House and Senate for their leadership and working with us to make sure that that the law keeps up with technology.  We look forward to Governor Corbett signing it into law so we can continue the fight against those who want to put these dangerous drugs on Pennsylvania’s streets.”

The drugs, with street names like “White Snow,” “Thunda Cat” and “Cotton Cloud” are man-made chemical stimulant drugs that have similar effects as LSD and methamphetamine and cause people to hallucinate and have psychotic episodes. They are often referred to as bath salts, but have nothing to do with bathing products. Law enforcement around the state has reported dangerous and bizarre behaviors by people high on synthetic drugs’ highly potent substances.

In 2011, the PDAA worked for the enactment of Act 7, which banned chemical compounds used at that time to formulate synthetic drugs. The legislation was considered a priority by PDAA because of the public safety and public health problem they caused.  Just last week a Montgomery County jury convicted a convenience store owner of selling illegal synthetic drugs that resulted in a fatal car accident.  That case is recounted in this news story by the Pottstown Mercury: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130615/NEWS01/130619462/jurors-learn-significance-of-k2-verdict-from-pottstown-crash-victim-s-mom#full_story

The bill being sent to the governor’s desk updates the list of controlled substances to help law enforcement keep up with new synthetic compounds used by illicit manufactures in reformulating synthetic marijuana and bath salts.  The bill, H.B. 1217, is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Stern (R-Blair).

“This bill will help save lives,” said Wagner.