GILFORD — Selectmen are expected to hear at a meeting tonight the police department's plan to make synthetic drugs illegal in Gilford.
The proposed ordinance, if passed by selectmen, will bring Gilford in line with existing federal law and with proposed legislation that is before the N.H. Legislature but has yet to be passed.
"This ordinance will serve to educate the public that these forms of dangerous synthetic drugs are not allowed in the town of Gilford, whether they are already considered scheduled controlled drugs or they are analogs, which can be considered just as illegal," said Detective Sergeant Christopher Jacques last week while he was explaining his recommendations.
For the purposes of the ordinance, Jacques said using the word "analog" is to continue the illegality of synthetic drugs that are chemically altered to avoid being mentioned in the Federal Drug Act. He said the state law, if it passes, will do the same thing.
Jacques identified two types of synthetic drugs that are growing in popularity within the state and in the town of Gilford – cathinones, commonly referred to as bath salts, and phenethylamines, a term which includes synthetic compounds like LSD and MDMA (ecstasy).
Synthetic cathinones are Schedule 1 drugs according to the Federal Drug Act as are mescaline, cannabis and their synthetic copycats.
One tool to identify and fight the use of these drugs is with a NarcoTest that can be purchased by police department for use as a preliminary identifiers. Jacques said the NarcoPouchs or NarcoTests are expensive but can give immediate results as opposed to waiting up to ten months for the state lab to produce an official analysis.
Jacques said the department is seeing use of synthetic drugs, often sold over the counter and labeled as not for human consumption, in children as young as 14.
"These were never intended for human consumption," he said.
"There's no control for these," he said. "(People) don't know what they're really getting."
He said police and other emergency responders have seen upwards of a dozen bad reactions to these drugs including paranoia, violent behavior, rapid heart rate and a death in one case.
The Gilford Selectmen meet at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall and Jacques encouraged anyone – especially parents of young people – to attend the presentation to learn more about the proposed ordinance and the danger these drugs present to consumers.
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