Lawmakers try to solve synthetic drug puzzle


Members of the Minnesota state legislature spent Wednesday trying to figure out the next step in crafting a new law to fight the growth of synthetic drugs.

Several House committees met to try to come up with a way to address the problem that medical and law enforcement officials say is rapidly getting worse. Officials say the problem has grown to all areas of the state, cities and rural areas alike.

A report by the Associated Press, says an emergency room doctor at North Memorial Medical Center estimates the ER is treating one to two patients a week who have used synthetics to get high.

Doctors compare the effects of synthetic marijuana to more like the effects of LSD and other hallucinogens than to traditional marijuana.

A Minnesota Public Radio report this week, says that synthetic drugs are difficult to outlaw because sellers change the chemical composition of the drugs. DFL Rep. Michael Paymar, the chair of the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee says that he doesn't know that just trying to put copycat legislation together is going to be effective nor constitutional.

Lawmakers are also considering new prevention and education programs on the dangers of synthetic drugs as well.

The issue came to the forefront of the news again this week when the owner of a Duluth head shop, Jim Carlson, was convicted on 51 of 55 counts of selling synthetic drugs.

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