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Kentucky House Committee Approves Measure to Increase Synthetic Drug Penalties

LRC Public Information

A Kentucky House Committee has approved a measure that would increase penalties for the possession and trafficking of synthetic drugs. Proponents of the measure are hopeful it will curb the spread of a very trendy synthetic. 

Flakka is a highly potent and addictive synthetic stimulant that can cause extreme delirium, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. It can be snorted, eaten, injected, or smoked. Jeremy Triplett with the State Police lab testified in committee about two people who got high on Flakka in a hotel room. “They could hear the individuals in the room next to them. They became convinced there were people inside the walls, trying to get them, so they began stabbing the walls,” said Triplett.

The bill increases penalties for possession of synthetics and moves the penalty for trafficking from a misdemeanor to a felony. Lewis County Sheriff Johnny Bivens says the popular synthetic is often obtained online from China. “While we have seen recent legislation focused on heroin and deservedly so, we are now witnessing a new drug, a vicious poison called Flakka,” Bivens explained.

Louisville Representative Reggie Meeks voted for the measure, but expressed frustration at the volume of drug shipments coming into the state. “We’re tightening up enforcement on the local level, as we should, as we have to. But, the faucet is still turned up. The faucet never gets turned off,” noted Meeks.

Bill Sponsor, House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins says treatment for those addicted to drugs is still a priority. If the legislation is enacted, incarceration costs could reach several million dollars a year.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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