Proposed laws target use of synthetic drugs
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OSWEGO COUNTY, N.Y. -- Oswego County lawmakers are considering four pieces of legislation that would give law enforcement agencies more power to prosecute users of synthetic drugs.
The first law would prohibit the sale and possession of bath salts and synthetic hallucinogens.
The second would outlaw the sale, distribution and use of drug and alcohol screening test adulterants, which some drug users take to try to test negative when undergoing drug tests.
The third would prohibit the sale and possession of salvia divinorum.
The fourth would set up a synthetic drug public nuisance abatement law, which would penalize private businesses found to be selling synthetic drugs and allow for those stores to be shut down after a certain amount of violations.
While the state recently passed a public health law that outlaws the sale of synthetic drugs, officials say this county legislation would put the focus on the individuals buying and using the substances.
"The police will be able to, this will help them get warrants, make arrests and misdemeanor charges, rather than simple public health fines," said Oswego County Administrator Philip Church.
"Making the offense a misdemeanor at the very least is going to be helpful to law enforcement because it's going to give some teeth to the actual consequences," said Oswego County Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan.
The Sheriff's Department says the amount of crimes related to synthetic drug use have skyrocketed in the past year. Residents will have the chance to voice their opinions on the laws at a public hearing in the legislature chambers on September 13th, before lawmakers cast their votes.