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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dealing with the Drug Problem

Posted Monday, July 11, 2011, at 11:21 AM

(Photo)
Drugs like Molly's Plant Food & Bath Salts have been readily available in most gas stations.
By Rep. Craig Fitzhugh.

While Republicans & Democrats had many honest disagreements this past session, we were able to come together and solve some serious problems facing Tennessee. In no area is this cooperation more apparent than in our response to the new drug crisis involving methcathinone and its derivatives.

Methcathinone is a well know psychotropic drug with a high potential for addiction. In the United States, it is a schedule 1 drug and carries a Class B Felony for its production, distribution or sale. However, drug makers in China have found a way around this prohibition with new products known as "Molly's Plant Food" or "Bath Salts."

These two products, which were banned by the European Union in 2010, have no real purpose according to officials with the TBI. Commonly sold in gas stations throughout the state, these methcathinone derivatives have proved particularly popular among young people who snort them for a cheap high.

Since the products are derivatives of methcathinone and not technically the drug itself, law enforcement didn't have the ability to go after people using or selling this highly addictive drug.

Responding to calls from local law enforcement officials, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced HB 457 commonly known as the "Bath Salts Bill." This legislation makes it a Class A Misdemeanor to knowingly produce, sell or manufacture six specific derivatives of methcathinone-including Molly's Plant Food & Bath Salts.

This legislation, which does not outlaw legitimate bath salts like those found in a health & beauty store, passed 96-0 in the House of Representatives. I was proud to cast my vote for this bill, because we need to close the loophole and give law enforcement the tools they need to get these highly addictive drugs off the street.

On another note, this summer I am starting a new e-mail program where I send out bi-weekly updates-including "Craig's Corner"- to subscribers. If you would like to get e-mail updates from me, you can sign-up at www.craigfitzhugh.com. Also don't forget to find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/craigfitzhugh & Twitter www.twitter.com/craigfitzhugh.

As always, if you have any questions about this new law or would like to hear more about another issue, please contact my legislative office and we'll get your questions answered as soon as possible. Have a great week!



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