Chicago — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced four new laws that will strengthen drug prevention efforts in the state. The bills crack down on drug abuse by attacking the growing problem of bath salt consumption, expanding the definition of drug-induced homicide, and adding additional compounds and synthetic substances to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. Among the bills signed were House Bills 3042 and 2089, which add chemical compounds for specific cathinone derivatives, commonly known as “bath salts,” including methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), to the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Since last year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has reported a six-fold increase in calls related to the consumption of bath salts, which produces severe hallucinations, paranoia and psychotic episodes when consumed. Previously, “bath salts” were unregulated and legal, in part due to their labeling as unfit for human consumption.
“We want to make sure our drug policies are aggressive, current and responsive,” Governor Quinn said. “These new laws bring Illinois to the cutting-edge of enforcement policies and advance our efforts to make Illinois a safe, productive and drug-free state.”
House Bill 3042 was sponsored by Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Sycamore) and Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and House Bill 2089 was sponsored by Rep. Wayne Rosenthal (R-Litchfield) and Sen. Sam McCann (R-Carlinville). Both bills passed the General Assembly unanimously.
Gov. Quinn also announced the signing of House Bill 21, which expands the definition of a drug-induced homicide to include the absorption of a controlled substance. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sacia (R-Freeport) and Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon), the bill aims to close a loophole in state law to prevent the abuse of prescription pain-killing fentanyl patches. Absorption abuse of the patches occurs when an individual cuts a transdermal fentanyl patch into halves and applies it to their skin.
Under current law, a drug-induced homicide is defined as a crime committed by an individual who unlawfully delivers an illegal drug to someone whose death is caused by the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance. House Bill 21 adds absorption of the substance to the statute. The State Line Area Narcotics Team (SLANT) strongly supported and advocated for the legislation.
Also signed into law was House Bill 2595, which cracks down on drug abuse. Sponsored by Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) and Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), the new law adds certain synthetic equivalents of cannabis to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act as Schedule I controlled substances. These equivalents include “Spice” or “K2” and nine chemical compounds considered synthetic cannabinoids.
House Bill 2595 takes effect Jan. 1, and House Bills 3042, 2089 and 21 go into effect immediately.