Cities across the country are taking the issue of synthetic drugs into their own hands. The Syracuse Common Council is the latest to pass an analogue law that makes bath salts and all derivatives and similar compounds illegal. As our Katie Gibas reports, Syracuse lawmakers say their law addresses what the state and federal ones don't.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The use of bath salts and other chemical compounds continues to rise, despite state and federal laws banning substances in synthetic drugs.
"We have people who are disoriented who are harmful to themselves and harmful to others. And as a council, we're trying to do what we can to give our police a tool so that they can have a way to counter this," said Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner.
That's why Monday, the Syracuse common council amended their drug laws to prohibit the sale and possession of all synthetic drugs. Basically, the change creates an analogue law that says bath salts, any derivative or substances that produce similar effects will now be illegal in the city.
State and federal laws prohibit certain chemicals, which many say is an ineffective method to controlling the drugs because producers are always creating new, slightly different compounds.
"That's what it is, a way to try to regulate something that nobody has been able to regulate. We would hope that we would disconnect the supply and get people, get their attention," said Kessner.
But some lawmakers say even though they voted in favor of the law, they don't think it will have much of an effect.
"Just because it's illegal doesn't stop people from using it. And I think that the people who get locked up are not the people who are responsible for the distribution and making money off of these things," said Syracuse Common Councilor Bob Dougherty. "If there's something we can do to keep some of this from happening, I think that's a good idea. I just don't think it's going to be very successful."
The council also passed a resolution calling on the state to enact an analogue law of their own.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says she will sign the legislation passed unanimously by the council Monday.
The law will make the possession and sale of bath salts in the city a misdemeanor with a sentence of up to a $1,000 fine or one year in jail.