|
|
|
The Times
  • Dolgeville continues work on synthetic drug law

  • With the state Department of Health recently issuing new regulations to crack down on the increasingly widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs, the members of the Dolgeville Village Board of Trustees on Monday night moved forward with a local law of their own. The new regulations announced last wee...
    • email print
  • With the state Department of Health recently issuing new regulations to crack down on the increasingly widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs, the members of the Dolgeville Village Board of Trustees on Monday night moved forward with a local law of their own.
    The new regulations announced last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances used to make synthetic drugs. In addition, the regulations will allow for the first time an owner of an establishment or an employee of a store selling synthetic drugs to be charged with possession of an illicit substance. Further, to support law enforcement, the new regulations increased the criminal penalties for those who violate the rules. Violators will face fines up to $500 and potentially up to 15 days in jail.
    “The new regulations that were announced by the governor and the state Department of Health are a step in the right direction, but they mostly deal with the head shops that sell the substances. What the village is trying to accomplish with its local law is to not only make it illegal to sell synthetic drugs in Dolgeville, but to possess them as well,” said police Chief Richard Congdon.
    Based on laws prohibiting the sale and possession of synthetic drugs in other local communities, Congdon said the purpose of Dolgeville’s local law is to minimize the risks from these synthetic alternatives to the lives, health and safety of persons residing in and visiting the village.
    “Bath salts and synthetic drugs pose a threat to public health and safety, and I agree with the governor that we must do everything we can to remove these substances from our streets,” he said.
    Over the past year, there has been a rise in instances of New Yorkers using synthetic drugs. In 2011, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. Already in 2012, there have been 191 such visits, with 120 occurring this past June and July.
    “We may have only had the one incident in June, but one incident is too many,” said Mayor Bruce Lyon. “The people who abuse these substances pose a risk to our residents and themselves.”
    Lyon was speaking of an incident that occurred on June 25 when Daniel Nellis was apprehended by Fulton County Sheriff’s deputies after he was found armed and running around the village yelling. Police later seized more than 170 weapons from his residence, several of which were loaded. Nellis, 39, underwent a mental health evaluation and confessed to using bath salts, deputies said.
    Bath salts and other synthetic drugs are manufactured with a similar, but slightly modified structure of controlled substances listed on Schedule I of the state and federal controlled substances laws as a means to avoid existing drug laws. In an effort to mask their purpose, these products are marketed as “bath salts” or as “legal alternatives to marijuana.” They are sold online and in small convenience stores, smoke shops and other retail outlets. When consumed, these substances produce effects similar to cocaine and amphetamines, including hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, suicidal thoughts and violent behavior as well as chest pains, increased blood pressure and increased heart rates.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Passing this local law will allow the department to coordinate investigations and arrests, and then send perpetrators before the district attorney for prosecution,” said Congdon.
    Working with Village Attorney Norman Mastromoro, Congdon said a finalized version of the village’s proposed law could be put before the board of trustees and mayor as early as next month. Before it becomes law, Mastromoro said the local law would be subject to a public hearing.
      • calendar