Synthetic Drugs Law — SEA 536

Senate Enrolled Act 536 relating to synthetic drugs is awaiting action from the governor, with a deadline of May 7, 2013.  The bill has primary impacts of:

  1. It is another opportunity to tighten controls over synthetic drugs (IC 35-31.5-2-321) and synthetic look-alike drugs (defined at IC 35-31.5-2-321.5), such as Spice, K2, and bath salts, by adding several more compounds to the list of synthetic drugs and synthetic look-alike drugs.
  2. The bill adds a new definition to “intoxicated” to include “any other substance, not including food and food ingredients, tobacco, or a dietary supplement…so that there is an impaired condition of thought and action and the loss of normal control of a person’s faculties.  (IC 9-13-2-86 and IC 35-46-9-2).
  3. The bill increases the crimes and penalties for having synthetic drugs and synthetic look-alike drugs, including possible suspension of a registered retail merchant certificate.

Historically, whenever the legislature has acted to deal with the growing synthetic drug problem, the manufacturers have tweaked the ingredient list slightly to avoid law enforcement.  To allow state agencies and law enforcement to be more responsive, pursuant to IC 25-26-13-4.1, the Indiana Board of Pharmacy would now have the authority to adopt emergency rules declaring that a substance is a synthetic drug on the Board’s own initiative or under written request of the state police department, the United Stated Drug Enforcement Administration, or a poison control center.

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