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State Lawmakers Take Aim At Popular Designer Drugs

LANSING (WWJ) - State lawmakers are taking aim at dangerous designer drugs, such as K2, "Spice" and "bath salts" -- all of which have been linked to severe adverse reactions. But police say it's tough when the stuff is being sold at the local gas station and party store.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation making it easier to remove synthetic drugs from store shelves. The vote came as Detroit joined a number of communities in banning the sale of K2 and other forms of the substance.

(RELATED: Detroit Bans K2 Under Emergency Order)

"If their friend says, 'Oh, yeah I just went down to the BP station at the corner and just bought this great stuff and it was an awesome high. You should do it, too.' I mean ... I don't know how we change that mentality," said Fred Schaible, the chief of staff for Senate Republican Dave Hildenbrand of Grand Rapids.

"But what we can do is get these items off the street and off the shelves and I think that that's the goal, the overall goal, of this package," he said.

Schaible said "malicious" manufacturers have been getting around the law by changing an ingredient here or there. But legislators have done their homework, looking at what other states have done in defining which chemical compounds should be banned.

The products have been linked recently to severe adverse reactions, including death. Experts say some users have been involved in homicides and suicides while under the influence. Severe cases have required long-term psychiatric care.

Addressing the panel, Representative Lisa Brown recommended harsher punishments for those caught with these drugs.

"A lot of people have talked about changing the mentality ...  and I'm offering an amendment that changes it from a misdemeanor to a felony and I am hoping that you'll support that," Brown said. "I think that that will send a very strong message that these are very dangerous substances."

The legislation now moves on to the full House and Senate for approval.

RELATED: User, Cop, Judge Give Insider's View Of Synthetic Pot

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