Legislature bans synthetic drugs

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The project coordinator of the Saginaw-based Shelby County Drug Free Coalition said she is excited about a bill passed by the Alabama Legislature banning a wide range of synthetic drugs.

The Alabama House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 208 on April 26 after the bill passed the Alabama Senate a few days earlier.

If signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley, the bill would make it illegal to possess or sell a wide range of substances used to make synthetic drugs. Synthetic drug use has been on the rise in Shelby County during the past few years, but banning them has been difficult, said Shelby County Drug Free Coalition Project Coordinator Carol Williams.

“We are happy they have closed that loophole,” Williams said. “They would ban a substance, but the people making (the drugs) would just change an ingredient and it would technically be legal again.

“This should take care of all the substances,” she added.

The bill would ban dozens of substances used to make items such as “synthetic marijuana,” “spice” and other illicit drugs. Williams said “synthetic marijuana” has been a problem recently in Shelby County, and can cause severe health problems.

“It can cause seizures, stomach and kidney problems. And these are kids we’re talking about,” Williams added. “We are definitely excited about this bill.”