INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Senate recently supported legislation authored by State Rep. Sharon Negele (R-Attica) cracking down on synthetic drug dealers and manufacturers.

Synthetic drugs are those with properties and effects similar to other illegal drugs. The current penalty for dealing or possessing a synthetic drug ranges from a Class A infraction to a Class C misdemeanor.

Under Negele’s legislation, sentencing for these synthetic substances would be enhanced to mirror the penalties of the drugs mimicked.

“Synthetic substances, like spice or bath salts, are created to imitate other known illegal drugs, like marijuana or cocaine,” Negele said. “However, the synthetics can sometimes be more toxic and dangerous than the drugs they mimic. By strengthening penalties, we can get these criminals off the streets and help deter the manufacture of synthetic drugs.”

Under Negele’s bill, prosecutors would also be given criteria to consider when determining whether a synthetic substance is mimicking a controlled substance. Negele said this would grant more flexibility to convict dealers and manufacturers who design these substances to look and act like other known illegal drugs.

“By strengthening penalties and giving prosecutors the flexibility they need to convict, we are bolstering the fight against the manufacture and dealing of synthetic drugs,” Negele said.

House Enrolled Act 1186 is now eligible to be signed into law by the governor. To learn more, visit iga.in.gov.