Town meeting Thursday on synthetic drugs

Education and awareness are important tools to combat the serious health threat caused by a rise in synthetic drugs, according to state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon).
The rise of those synthetic drugs in Illinois and across the nation is keeping law enforcement, health professionals and drug counselors working overtime, said McCarter, who wants to play a leadership role in addressing the problem.
McCarter is hosting a district-wide town hall meeting on synthetic drugs from 6:30-8 p.m. this Thursday at Vandalia Junior High School.
“It’s important that parents know these dangerous drugs are readily available, affordable and legal,” McCarter said.
“That’s the amazing part. This problem is caused by legal drugs, not illegal drugs.
“These are that you can find at some convenience stores under innocent names such as ‘Blizzard,’ ‘Genie’ or ‘Ivory Wave.’
“They are highly addictive and very dangerous. They can trigger serious health effects and their use can lead to overdose and death,” McCarter said.
While these synthetic forms of marijuana, cocaine and meth are legal in their current chemical formations, McCarter is working to change that, and to ensure the substances are banned for good.
In recent years, state legislatures across the nation – including the Illinois General Assembly – have taken steps to ban the synthetic drugs known as “cannabinoids” and “cathinone,” but the creators of the drugs get around the ban by altering part of the synthetic’s chemical structure to create a new line of drugs.
Legislation introduced this spring by McCarter targets the synthetic drugs by outlawing the basic chemical structure, making any succeeding variation of them also illegal.
As of this date, Senate Bill 1129 is pending before the Illinois House. It has already been approved by the Senate and has secured bipartisan support.
This Thursday’s town hall meeting includes input from local experts in law enforcement, education and health who are available to answer questions.
McCarter said he understands the difficulties and emotions that can keep people away, but he hopes parents and the community will make a stand and turn out for the town hall meeting.
“I know it’s tough for people to come together and to realize there is a problem in their communities or even in their families,” said McCarter.
“I’m a parent who has dealt with this issue first-hand. I know it’s difficult, but it’s worth the embarrassment to find out what your kids are facing and the dangers these drugs pose.
“After the fact, I can tell you personally, that you will do anything that you can to keep the drug abuse from happening.”
Informational handouts and refreshments will be available. There is no pre-registration required for the town hall meeting, and McCarter said the invitation to attend the meeting is extended to everyone in the 54th Senate District to learn and hear about the danger of synthetic drugs, and how they can be taken off the market.
“It will be informative and maybe save a life,” said McCarter said.
“It’s going to take all of us working together to protect our kids – law enforcement can’t do it alone and educators can’t do it alone.”

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