Pubdate: Tue, 05 Apr 2011
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2011 The Des Moines Register
Author: Chris Hagenow
Note: State Rep. Chris Hagenow, R-Windsor Heights, represents 
District 59 in the Iowa House. The district includes the Polk County 
portion of Clive, Windsor Heights and part of West Des Moines. He can 
be reached at  or at 281-3221.
Bookmark: (Opinion)


Efforts to keep dangerous drugs out of the hands of Iowans and
Americans is frustrated by a fast-paced drug market which churns out
new strands and new types of drugs, often faster than federal and
state agents can act to regulate these substances before the
consequences are known.

One such substance is synthetic cannabis or K2. Synthetic cannabis was
developed to circumvent state and federal laws which make cannabis
illegal; yet this new synthetic version is anything but harmless.

An Indianola teen took his life last summer after using K2 and
suffering the equivalent of a panic attack. The earlier we act to make
these drugs unavailable, the sooner we can potentially save lives. By
acting now, we can begin to limit the supply of these drugs, and
prosecute the producers.

I was proud to vote for the recent passage of House File 186, which
made several types of K2, salvia and "bath salts" banned substances.
Unfortunately, the Senate has since made several changes to the bill.

The Senate voted to ban K2, but neglected to ban other dangerous
substances like salvia divinorum and bath salts. Salvia divinorum is a
powerful hallucinogen which can have serious consequences including
addiction. Bath salts are another new and quickly evolving drug making
its way into the hands of Iowans, especially teens.

Drawing from our experience with the Indianola teen and the family
that faces a future without him, we must consider the lives of others
who might be tempted to experiment with these substances. It is
essential that our state work to get ahead of these various new drugs.
Presently, the House has an opportunity to amend SF 462 and work to
find consensus with the Senate to ban not just K2, but salvia
divinorum and bath salts.

The loss of just one more life because the Iowa Legislature did not
exercise responsible foresight on these new drugs would be
unacceptable. I will be eagerly waiting for a version of this bill to
pass which bans all of these new substances. This is the right thing
to do for the health and safety of all Iowans, especially our youths.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake