Tenn.- With dangerous bath salts and
other synthetic drugs killing Tennessee
teenagers and sending them to the hospital, state lawmakers have recently cleared
a major hurdle in waging a new war against the drugs.
House lawmakers have passed a bill that would make it a
felony to make or sell these synthetic drugs, which are often called bath
salts. Tennessee legislators are hoping the new bill will be the
toughest in the country.
State Representative Tony Shipley was behind the bill that
also makes it a misdemeanor to possess bath salts, commonly found in convenience
"Part of the challenge was we had children dying in the
streets, so there was this emotional imperative, to get it done, but us on this
side we knew we had to get it done right," Shipley said.
The synthetic drug problem was a new problem, uncharted
waters for lawmakers. Legislators struggled to create a law that could hold up
in court. Another problem lawmakers faced was that law enforcement seemed
handicapped in convicting synthetic drug users.
After much study legislators believe they're on
their way to passing some of the toughest synthetic drug legislation in the
"It's like Christmas Day today for me, because we have
actually made history, we've changed history, and we have saved lives, it's a
big deal," said Shipley.
Representative Shipley's bill would also allow investigators
to declare the stores where the drugs are sold as public nuisances.
The Senate now will debate this issue and it's
expected to pass there.