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Synthetic drugs bill passes Indiana senate

State lawmakers hope the third time’s the charm as they seek to eliminate the sale and use of synthetic drugs, often referred to as bath salts.

This year marks the third consecutive session with legislation outlawing synthetic drugs.  But Indianapolis Republican Jim Merritt – who has shepherded the effort in the Senate all three years – says state lawmakers and law enforcement know much more now and believe they’ve hit on a lasting solution. 

Merritt says, the last two years, the legislature banned certain chemical compounds in the drugs, even giving the State Board of Pharmacy emergency rule-making power to do so.

“Government is not quick enough to work towards the pharmacy end where they have compounds with the Board of Pharmacy,” Merritt said.

Legislation this year bans “look-alikes,” anything that’s substantially similar to the banned drugs but doesn’t necessarily contain anything on the state’s list of banned compounds. 

Merritt says the look-alikes are easy to spot, as they serve no purpose other than drug use.  The bill also creates potentially harsher penalties for retailers who sell the drugs.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.