Wednesday, 10 June 2015 14:39

Barclay Circulates Petition to Strengthen Synthetic Drugs Laws

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Barclay Circulates Petition to Strengthen Synthetic Drugs Laws Supplied photo

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I — Pulaski) today announced that he is circulating a petition to garner public support for legislation (A5454a) that would help ban synthetic drug sales in retail stores and toughen penalties against sales and use—putting them more on par with penalties akin to illegal narcotics. To sign the petition, visit

"Synthetic drug use is up again. Reports from area hospitals and poison control centers are troubling. People are getting sick, having hallucinations, and dangerously high blood pressure. The drug makers are targeting young kids through flashy packaging that feature cartoon characters too. By labeling it as incense or potpourri, they are skirting laws because, clearly, many are buying to smoke or ingest," said Barclay.

Outlawing synthetics drugs has been a challenge because New York and the Federal Government outlaw drugs based on their chemical compounds. Because they are synthetics, manufacturers have been able to slightly change their chemical composition so they are no longer on the state's controlled substance list and therefore, no longer illegal. In addition, synthetic drugs are often mislabeled and sold as products other than drugs (i.e., bath salts, shoe deodorant and incense.) However, the seller and the purchaser realize that the intended use of the synthetic drug is to provide a high for the user.

Barclay's legislation addresses mislabeling, chemical swapping, and creates penalties for possessing and selling synthetic drugs equivalent to their "street drug" counterpart. The bill contains two key provisions: (i) broader power is given to the Commissioner of Health to add synthetic drugs and their chemical compounds to the controlled substance list, rather than having the legislature act to add to the controlled substance list; and (ii) stores will be penalized for selling mislabeled products when they are clearly intended to be used as drugs. Senator Patty Ritchie is the prime sponsor of this legislation in the State Senate.

"Please sign this petition, so I can share these signatures with my colleagues in Albany, to garner more support for the bill," said Barclay.

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