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Trustees Approve Local Ban on Synthetic Drugs

Following a Jan. 1 statewide ban on the use of synthetic drugs, the village of Evergreen Park has added more restrictions and adopted a local ordinance making it illegal to possess or sell the faux drugs.

In a move to protect residents from a growing trend that has been outlawed by the state of Illinois since Jan. 1,

If anyone in Evergreen Park is caught selling, possessing, delivering and/or using synthetic drugs, they will be fined $150 to $750, although it is not yet clear what would cause the minimum or maximum fine, according to Chief Michael Saunders.

According to Ordinance 1-2012, the village of Evergreen Park “deems it necessary and desirable to prohibit the sale, delivery, possession and use of products containing synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic stimulants, and synthetic hallucinogens in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare.”

Saunders said to his knowledge, there hadn’t been any synthetic drug arrests in Evergreen Park.

“Most towns have been doing this,” said Mayor James Sexton, and by enacting the local ordinance, the village is choosing a proactive approach.

The ordinance was done “to remedy any problem before one arises and to protect the kids in our community. That’s the purview of our authority,” said Saunders.

Before the statewide ban went into effect, forms of the drug had been sold legally at convenience stores, gas stations and local smoke shops under the names K2, Pulse, Black Mamba, Ivory Wave or Spice, among others. They had also been sold as incense, bath salts or potpourri in packages that often state "Not For Human Consumption."

Recent reports say the fake drugs can mimic the effects of marijuana, however they are believed to be much more dangerous.

According to the Illinois Attorney General website, “One reason that synthetic drugs are extremely dangerous is that buyers don’t know what chemicals they are ingesting. Individual products can contain a vast range of different chemical formulations and potencies, some of which can be two to 500 times stronger than THC.”  The drug, which is made up of a mix of chemicals and herbs, is sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has determined that “the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids have adverse health effects such as agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior and non-responsiveness.” The drug has also “been linked to severe psychotic episodes, increased heart rates and panic attacks,” according to the ordinance.

The Illinois Attorney General said that in 2011, there were more than 5,700 calls from around the country to poison control centers about the abuse of synthetic marijuana, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Currently in Illinois, the new law banning synthetic marijuana says that selling the drug carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $150,000 fine, and possession could lead to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.

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