Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) said today’s announcement to further penalize synthetic drug users gives law enforcement a necessary tool to combat synthetic drugs in our communities. The State Health Department also created a hotline for the public to report tips to police, 1-888-99SALTS (1-888-997-2587).
“This is another step in the right direction. With these regulations, local law enforcement can penalize more users and make someone think twice about trying synthetics for the first time,” said Barclay. “Synthetic drugs continue to be a problem and our law enforcement need more tools to send messages to those who sell and possess that these substances are not OK. They are a serious mental and physical health risk,” said Barclay. Users report severe paranoia, panic attacks, hyperthermia (increased body temperature), hypertension (high blood pressure), hallucinations, days of not sleeping, and even psychosis.
According to the Governor’s press release, the regulations will allow for the first time an owner of an establishment and/or an employee selling synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance. Further, to support enforcement, the regulations will increase the criminal penalties for those who violate the rules. Violators will face fines up to $500 and potentially up to 15 days in jail. New civil penalties will include a fine of up to $2,000 per violation.
Barclay said though these are good steps, he supports legislation that creates even tougher penalties for those who sell and use synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
According to the Governor’s office, the regulations adopted today by the State Department of Health will add dozens of new substances to the list of synthetic drugs that are illegal to possess or sell in New York, better ensuring that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug's ingredients.