301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
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FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK – VOLUME 1, #7
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
I want to share with you two developments which I believe are very important to all of us in Christian County:
1. Teen-age drug use and drinking throughout the country have been increasing over the last year or so according to a recent study. This represents a reversal from the results of the 3 previous years.
2. A new bill presented by the Illinois House of Representatives offers a rare chance to help prevent the drug consumption figures from worsening. It provides us the tools we need to fight the newest threat on the market, especially if consumption is truly rising.
Let’s first check the data from a National Study, released a few weeks ago by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and the MetLife Foundation. The study included the results from the 22d annual Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), revealing attitudes from a large number of participants and many parents.
SOME KEY FINDINGS - DRUG USE
(The study deals with the 3-year period 2008 to 2010)
The results reported an increase in the use of Ecstasy from 6% to 10% in that time. This amounts to an increase of 67%.
Marijuana use during this time is also up strongly, from 32 % in 2008 to 39% in 2010, or a 22% increase overall.
Prescription drugs (not prescribed by a doctor) were taken by 25 % of teens at least once in their lives.
Many teens tend to consider the recreational use of drugs less risky than smoking.
Among teens, past-year methamphetamine use is unchanged at 5%, cocaine/crack is at 9%. Heroin is at 4%.
But as you will see, our next section deals with a very important change that will, when processed, help minimize a new threat to drug users, especially teens, and reduce what is fast becoming a major factor in drug activity.
TODAY’S NEW THREAT – BATH SALTS
And just what are bath salts? Actually, these materials have nothing to do with baths or bath-water. They are manufactured to be the latest in what has become known as the Designer Drug market. These are mostly substances specifically manufactured or processed to be legal, but still possessing the impact and effects of drugs which are now generally illegal.
The name Bath Salts is used because it provides an apparent functional use. It is then labeled as Bath Salts (or in some cases, Plant Food) and carries a simple warning, which says “Not for human consumption.”
The manufacturers of these goods consider them perfectly legal. None of the drugs declared illegal (meaning they are listed in section 1 of the Federal Law regulating them by the Drug Enforcement Agency) are involved.
A few of these Bath Salts first appeared in the last year or two. They are typically found in a wide range of retail outlets such as convenience stores, head shops, mini-marts, truck stops and are also available on the internet. They are not particularly expensive, and serve no useful purpose except to provide customers with substances that can supply them with the same kind of physical and mental reactions that current illegal drugs provide to their consumers.
Sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts. The drugs may cause intense cravings. Poison Centers around the country report steady increases in the number of cases involving Bath Salts being brought to them.
Now the real danger of these preparations is that anyone, including any teen who finds them, can walk in, pay the price, and leave with a container that can produce the same reactions that are regularly sought with drugs on the illegal list.
Because of the relatively short time these products have been on the market, we can’t be sure what other consequences there may be for using them. But some things are turning up in emergency rooms and drug treatment facilities. For example, there have been cases of highly agitated users in an emergency room seeking treatment, but who are so uncontrollable, normal sedatives such as valium, even at high doses, can’t bring them under control. Investigators in Mississippi have confirmed that a man who killed a sheriff’s deputy had Bath Salt drugs in his blood.
Such events have motivated legislatures in 10 states to list the drugs in Bath Salts, especially MDPV, as illegal.
The good news is that Illinois is about to join this group and become number 11. An Illinois House Bill, HB2089, sponsored by our representative in District 19, Wayne Rosenthal, passed the House by the vote of 112-0. It passed the Senate and now awaits Governor Quinn’s signature.
As explained by supporters of the legislation, Illinois is taking this step because the alternative, waiting for the Drug Enforcement Agency to conduct its studies to declare the substances illegal is likely to take a year or so, and may even require 2 years. We simply cannot afford to let this opportunity get away. We want the same power that New York State just showed after their law became effective in May. They just announced a raid of a major distributor of Bath Salts, leading to the arrest of 10 people and the confiscation of more than 40 kilograms with a street value of $2 million.
That’s the type of activity we are anxious to be able to duplicate.
Department Activity for the last 5 months: