‘Synth drugs’ need to be made illegal


Officers of the law, as well as lawmakers, last week got a boost in their efforts to quell the continued uprising of sales and use of synthetic drugs. A proposal by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) to give police officers and prosecutors new tools to crack down on dangerous dope passed the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law by a 6-3 vote.

According to the bill, synthetic drugs include a substance a reasonable person would believe is a synthetic drug; a substance a reasonable person would believe is being sold or purchased as a synthetic drug; and/or a substance that a person knows or should have known is intended to be consumed and that consumption is intended to cause intoxication.

Merritt, the author of the previously enacted state Lifeline Law, now has put forth an idea that also would modify the existing definition of “intoxication” under Indiana Code to include impairment by any substance, excluding food and food ingredients, tobacco or a dietary supplement. Indiana’s current definition for intoxication only includes impairment by certain substances, such as alcohol and controlled drugs.

We support his bulldogged approach. The senator said he believes the new definitions would give cops and prosecutors the tools necessary to arraign synthetic drug manufacturers and dealers who are slightly changing the chemical makeup of individual substances. It also will help get more impaired drives off our thoroughfare, which, at times, are dangerous enough. Merritt aims to send a sledgehammer of a message to dangerous motorists and those making, selling and using the artificial drugs. It’s a laudable effort, and we hope the measure sails through the Senate and House without delay, then is signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence. The Legislature last year made Spice, or artificial marijuana, illegal, and now it’s time to make the rest of the synthetic garbage illegal.