New Illinois law aims to protect people from harms of synthetic - – Rockford’s News Leader

New Illinois law aims to protect people from harms of synthetic drugs


According to the Centers for Disease Control the number of calls to poison centers due to to synthetic drug use jumped more than 200-percent from 2014 to 2015.

Springfield wants to keep these substances from hurting people in Illinois.

"Nobody knows what's in these things and so therefore no body can predict the effect on the person who uses them," Judy Emerson said.

Emerson is Director of Communications at Rosecrance, a facility that offers addiction treatment services in Rockford.  She said using synthetic drugs comes with serious harmful risks and people who take these types of drugs in the Rockford area sometimes end up at Rosecrance.

"These kind of substances have shown up across the country and have resulted in many hospital visits with young people experiencing seizures, hallucinations, all kinds of erratic behaviors and psychotic episodes, and even some deaths."

Dr. Mariam Shair, a Pediatrician at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, said some teenagers believe synthetic drugs are OK because they are natural, but those types can be worse than actual drugs.  

Illinois lawmakers want to keep synthetic drugs out of the public's hands, which was why they passed Senate Bill 1129 that took effect Jan. 1, 2016.

"Its reclassifying those particular drugs, making them comparable to their chemical comparison," 67th District Representative Litesa Wallace said.  "We see things like synthetic ecstasy or the bath salts things like that, so what this particular legislation is doing is classifying them as illegal."

Lawmakers said the bill classifies what are called chemical structures, similar to drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and bath salts, as "Schedule 1" controlled substances.  "Schedule 1" substances have no known medical use and are are likely addictive.

The new Illinois law aims to prevent drug manufacturers from create synthetic substances that are not prohibited.

"This is just a step saying we don't want these types of products in our state and we want to add them to the list," 68th District Representative John Cabello said.

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