(COLUMBUS) - The author of Indiana's laws banning synthetic drugs like those which reportedly sickened four Columbus North High School students Wednesday says those laws are having an effect.
Indianapolis Senator Jim Merritt says the drugs nicknamed "Spice" or "bath salts" haven't been eliminated, any more than cocaine or heroin has. But he says police have been able to gain ground, after the legislature quit trying to ban ever-shifting drug formulas and instead used the state laws against lookalike drugs, the same laws which allow criminal charges for passing off baking soda as cocaine.
Where Spice used to be sold openly on the shelves at gas stations and convenience stores, Merritt says it's now more likely to be sold out the back door of those shops in secret, with buyers having to give a password.
The Columbus students were treated and released at a hospital emergency room.
Dealing Spice is currently a misdemeanor. Merritt says he'll reintroduce a bill next year to boost it to a felony at the same level as dealing marijuana.
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