Lawmakers Looking to Put Broad Ban on Synthetic Drugs

By  | 

Lincoln, Neb.-- The bill hopes to put a broad ban on synthetic drugs, like K2, while also adding to the list of currently banned substances.

But, some are worried the bill may not pass as is, and will leave the door open for newer versions of the drug.

However, Sen. Ken Schilz, who proposed the bill, says the point is to stamp out the drug entirely.

"We've got to be able to find ways to anticipate what the next ones are going to be," Schilz said.

The problem, according to opponents, is with these few words - "shall include, but is not limited to..."

The bill lists several additional substances lawmakers would like to ban, and then includes the words above in order to ban similar substances.

But, in legislative hearings Wednesday, Schilz said lawyers argued this wording is too vague. Schilz said opponents argued it may end up applying to substances the bill didn't intend.

But, Steve Tucker, the father of a teenage boy that died as a result of taking K2 in 2013, said a broad ban has to be in place in order to stop this drug from killing more people.

"Every week," Tucker said, "there's a new substance put out there on the market. And, every week, you can't go in there and change the bill."

Both Tucker and Schilz argue the people producing this drug aren't worried about others' safety.

"We're not going to get everything," Tucker said.

"[The manufacturer's of these drugs] are killers, their crooks and you're not going to stop it. But, we can definitely put a dent into their territory and what they're using."

"They are doing it exactly for the purpose of staying one step ahead of the law," Schilz said, "And, keeping it legal, so that they can continue to sell it without regard for people's health or people's safety. Their only regard is to put money in their pockets."

Tucker is also trying to get 15 more substances added to this bill, as well as get the Food and Drug Administration involved.

The FDA currently has no regulatory oversight for the manufacturers making synthetic drugs like K2. Many packages of the substance have a label saying "Not for Human Consumption," helping them to avoid the FDA's gaze.

Schilz said if they can't pass the bill as written, they'll likely be able to pass a version that at least adds to the list of currently banned substances.