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[s31] Sen. Merritt Calls Emergency Meeting on Synthetic Drugs
Start Date: 10/17/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/17/2012End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE (Oct. 18, 2012) — State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) today called for an emergency meeting of government and law enforcement officials to develop a new aggressive, results-driven approach to eliminate the sale of synthetic drugs in Indiana.

Merritt’s decision followed news reports from Indianapolis CBS affiliate WISH-TV regarding a 17-year-old girl who was hospitalized this week after becoming ill from using synthetic drugs she allegedly purchased at an Indianapolis gas station. Now Merritt hopes to gather representatives from the Indiana Attorney General’s office, Indiana State Police, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council and Indiana Sheriffs’ Association, among others in law enforcement, to ensure all invested parties are aggressively pursuing new ideas to fight these synthetic drugs still plaguing Indiana communities.

“The legislature has spoken twice now with two separate laws empowering law enforcement with the tools to identify and crack down on the manufacturers, distributors and retailers providing synthetic drugs,” Merritt wrote in a letter requesting the meeting. “We need to let synthetic drug makers, retailers and users know that it must stop and will stop.”

In 2011, Merritt supported Senate Enrolled Act 57, which added various chemical compounds used in synthetic cannabinoids like ‘Spice’ and the herb salvia divinorum to the state’s controlled substances list for the first time. In 2012, Merritt sponsored House Enrolled Act 1196 to hold retailers accountable for selling synthetic drugs. Under the new law, Indiana retailers caught selling a banned synthetic drug could lose their business licenses for up to one year. Additionally, it created tight restrictions on the development of chemical compounds structurally comparable to those defined as “illegal” under current Indiana law, to discourage manufacturers from creating copycat drugs with alternate ingredients.

Merritt also joined Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry last month in launching initiatives to give Indiana employers formal notice that synthetic drug sales could cost them their businesses.

“If the pending investigation finds this Indianapolis gas station sold the girl synthetic drugs, I’m absolutely calling for its retail license to be suspended,” Merritt said. “They’ve had formal notice of the outlawed substances and the penalties for selling them.”

A date for the emergency meeting has not yet been confirmed by all parties involved. Merritt said he expects to host it as soon as possible because this is “a grave situation.”

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Whitney Moorman
Phone: 317-232-7184
Email: wmoorman@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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