ST. PAUL, MINN. – A change to the education portion of the synthetic drug bill was voted on and passed in the Senate on Wednesday by a nearly unanimous vote of 53 to 1. Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth), along with Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) worked on adding the language into the bill.
“Part of the fight against synthetic drugs should be about prevention and education. The rest of this bill is largely based on reacting to the problem. The public awareness campaign portion of the bill calls for the Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and Public Safety to include synthetic drugs in their educational programming,” said Sen. Reinert.
Portions of this bill came about following recommendations from the House’s Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs, which Rep. Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth) chaired. This Committee traveled the state, listening to constituents and learning about synthetic drug problems and learning how the legislature could help.
Highlights from the bill include changing the definition of ‘drug’ in statute which is amended to capture the synthetic drugs without targeting legal products. In addition to giving the Board of Pharmacy ‘cease and desist’ authority the bill also makes explicit that the sale of these drugs is illegal. Finally, the Board is able to add various compositions of synthetic drugs to the drug schedule.
“I’m pleased to see this bill get overwhelming bi-partisan support. Clearly the synthetic drug problem hurts families all across the state. I’m glad we could put something in statute that can help curb the problem while also providing a public awareness campaign to educate people about the dangers of these drugs,” said Sen. Reinert.