Monday, February 7, 2011
Salina Police have seen more people go into emergency rooms because of synthetic drugs that are legal to make and buy, like herbal potpourri and a substance sold as bath salt.
"It's happening because it's legal. If it were illegal, it wouldn't be taking our community like it is," said Lt. Jim Norton, Salina Police Drug Task Force commander.
The herbal-like potpourri is being sold legally even though the ingredients are causing respiratory problems in those who smoke it.
"Doctors are seeing daily, if not every other day, people coming in distress and some need long-term medical treatment for it," said Norton.
Salina Police are awaiting toxicology reports of a 21-year-old college student who died late December after possibly smoking the herbal blend and running onto the highway where he was hit by a car. Investigators found a small container of another synthetic drug known as bath salts on the victim.
"Right now we don't have the tools to deal with that cause it's not illegal. It's simply a free for all. The people that are paying for it are the ones that are smoking it and ending up in the hospital," said Norton.
If the bill passes the Senate and the Governor signs it into law, several classes of cannabinoids including potpourri would be illegal to possess in Kansas.
Salina Police Chief James Hill said that they plan to introduce legislation this month to ban bath salts.