Last summer, a story caught my eye in The Durango Herald (July 13, 2011) about an addictive substance called bath salts. I had never heard of this drug. The story was accompanied by a photograph of a woman, Jennifer Adair, who was picketing outside asmoke shop that had been selling these bath salts, also called red rocket on the street.
Adair was protesting because she had discovered that her 14-year-old daughter had been smoking and snorting bath salts, resulting in a complete change in personality from a clean-cut teen to one who was aggressive and violent with no care about her appearance. Most people compare it to methamphetamine, and it is legal in Colorado. In my opinion, it absolutely should not be legal.
This got my attention, and I put it on my list of things that I wanted to look into at the Legislature. Upon some inquiry, I found that state Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, was going to run a bill addressing the issue. I also found that state Rep. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, was going to run a competing bill to make bath salts illegal.
I talked with Foster about running her bill in the House, and she was excited that I knew about the issue and was grateful to have a Republican sponsor in the House. In the meantime, Gardner decided not to run his bill and was supportive of me sponsoring Fosters bill.
(I have learned that it is very important to make sure that I touch bases with all involved to make sure that I dont step on anyones toes or interfere with their territory. Ill have enough disagreements without looking for them.)
The bill is Senate Bill 116, and it is making its way through the Senate at this time and has been assigned to the Senate Local Government Committee, where it was approved unanimously Feb. 21.
A press release about the bill said that Foster and I are leading a bipartisan effort in the state Legislature to make it illegal to possess, use, distribute or manufacture the designer drug sold under the label bath salts. The cathinone-based drug has been reported to mimic the effects of drugs such as cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine and is currently legal in Colorado. Despite the Drug Enforcement Agencys recent ban and at least 28 states outlawing the substance, the drug is still being sold in Colorado businesses to a target market of teens and young adults. SB 116 defines the drug and establishes criminal penalties for use or possession, as well as manufacturing and distribution of cathinones.
This is an extremely dangerous drug that has been shown to have devastating impacts on the lives of Colorados youth. Because it is legal, it is perceived as safe. In no time, they are hooked and showing signs of paranoia, delusions, aggression and even suicidal thoughts, said professional psychologist Toni Anker.
This is a good bill and a good reason to be in the Colorado Legislature.
J. Paul Brown represents House District 59 in Colorados General Assembly. The district encompasses San Juan, Archuleta and La Plata counties and parts of Montezuma County. Contact Brown by phone at (303) 866-2914 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.