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Madigan pleased with passage of bill against synthetic drugs

By Bryan Cohen | May 31, 2012


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan praised members of the state Legislature on Wednesday for passing a bill to aid in her fight against synthetic drug abuse in Illinois.

Madigan's office helped to craft HB 5233, which targets the retail sale of synthetic drugs by defining synthetic drug products as products that contain a controlled substance not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The bill also addresses how the drugs are sold and packaged, frequently with misleading claims that the products are not meant for human consumption and are legal.

HB 5233 would make it illegal to sell any form of synthetic drugs in the state under the Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Additionally, the bill significantly increases the penalty for selling misbranded drugs or synthetic drug products.

"With drug makers continually reformulating these toxic substances, our state laws can quickly become outmoded when new variations arrive in stores," Madigan said. "This bill seeks to end the game of 'catch up' by classifying as illegal any chemical that's sold to be taken as a drug, regardless of what it's called or how it's labeled."

The bill will now go to the governor for consideration.

In addition to proposing the legislation, Madigan is working with agencies of local law enforcement throughout Illinois to combat the growing use of synthetic drugs, especially among young adults and teens. In December, Madigan launched Operation Smoked Out, a campaign to sweep retail stores for synthetic drug products. Since the initiative began, store owners have relinquished close to 25,000 packages of bath salts and synthetic drugs with an approximate $544,000 street value.

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