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Yorkville bans synthetic substitutes for illegal drugs

Updated: November 16, 2011 1:33PM

YORKVILLE — The City Council voted Tuesday to ban synthetic drugs from being sold, possessed or used within the city limits.

Aldermen voted unanimously to ban all drugs considered synthetic alternatives to already illegal drugs, such as marijuana or hallucinogens. The ban includes synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic stimulants, and synthetic psychedelics or hallucinogens.

“Kids are ODing on these,” said Police Chief Richard Hart, who worked to put together the ordinance banning the drugs. “People are dying. ERs don’t know how to treat the drugs.”

Hart said the drugs are sold in town for recreational use in place of drugs already banned by state and federal law. The city has 19 places licensed for liquor and tobacco sales, and most of them sell the synthetic drugs, Hart said.

Because the new ban goes into effect immediately, Hart said police will visit all the stores Wednesday to tell them drugs now are illegal. The fine for selling the drugs is $500, and a store could have its liquor or tobacco license suspended, Hart said.

The drugs are considered dangerous because they cause physical problems for users, and are easily marketed to children and teenagers. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has said the drugs cause agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, tremors, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior and non-responsiveness.

“We have had several kids smoke something before school, and ended up sick,” Hart said. “The production of these drugs is in garages. They take inert matter, like grass clippings, and spray the drugs on them.”

The synthetics have caused worse situations — even death — in other towns in the area. Hart said the ban passed by Yorkville is identical to the one passed in Aurora recently. It also has been passed in Sugar Grove and Oswego.

Alderman Carlo Colosimo, 1st Ward, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said local regulation of the drug allows the city to actually stay ahead of the situation, more than the state of Illinois, which also has banned some of the drugs.

But often, when the drugs are banned, the makers slightly change the chemical makeup of the drugs, and keep selling them. Colosimo said it is easier to amend local law than state law to address that.

Hart said the ordinance lists a number of compounds that are specifically banned.

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