K2 and Protecting Iowa’s Youth
Efforts to keep dangerous drugs out the hands of Iowans and Americans is frustrated by a fast-paced drug market itself, which churns out new strands and new types of drugs often faster than federal and state agents can act to regulate these substances, before the consequences are known.
One such substance is synthetic cannabis or “K2”. Synthetic cannabis was developed to circumvent state and federal laws which make cannabis illegal, yet this new synthetic version is anything but harmless.
An Indianola teen took his life last summer after using “K2” and suffering the equivalent of a panic attack. The earlier we act to make these drugs unavailable, the sooner we can potentially save lives. By acting now, we can begin to limit the supply of these drugs, and prosecute the producers.
I was proud to vote for the recent passage of House File 186, which made several types of “K2”, Salvia divinorum and “Bath Salts” banned substances. Unfortunately, the Senate has since made several changes to the bill.
The Senate voted to ban K2 but neglected to ban other dangerous substances like Salvia divinorum and “Bath Salts”. Salvia divinorum is a powerful hallucinogen which can have serious consequences including addiction. “Bath Salts” are another newly moving and quickly evolving drug making its way into the hands of Iowa citizens, especially teens.
Drawing from our experience with the Indianola teen and the family that faces a future without him, we must consider the lives of others who might be tempted to experiment with these substances. It is essential that our state work to get ahead of these various new drugs. Presently, the House has an opportunity to amend SF 462 and work to find consensus with the Senate to ban not just “K2”, but Saliva divinorum and “Bath Salts.”
The loss of just one more life because the Iowa Legislature did not exercise responsible foresight on these new drugs would be unacceptable. I will be eagerly waiting for a version of this bill to pass which bans all of these new substances. This is the right thing to do for the health and safety of all Iowans, especially our youth.