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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Indiana banned the sale of bath salts and K2 in July after hundreds of reported overdoses. But investigators say dealers have already found ways to get around the new law.
Police raided a Clarksville smoke shop earlier this month after authorities claimed the owner Tyre Grinage was selling bath salts. Days later, Grinage made a surprising statement to WDRB.
"I had it for sale, you know what I'm saying," said Grinage on August 11. "I'm not hiding nothing."
Grinage admitted the "Zoom 2" seized by investigators is a bath salt, but claimed its listed chemicals are not illegal under Indiana's bath salt law that took effect July 1st. "I make sure each products are allowed to be sent over here, possessed over here and sealed over here," says Grinage.
The act bans certain chemical compounds found in bath salts and synthetic marijuana, like K2.
"We now have one of the strongest laws in the country," The author of the law, state senator Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) said.
But other members of law enforcement including Clark County Deputy prosecutor Jeremy Mull says the law doesn't go far enough just banning chemical ingredients. "Once you outlaw certain drugs, they go to work trying to create a drug that's not under the statute but has similar effects," says Mull
But reports show the law only bans 19 of 400 known synthetic weed substances. Mull says if lawmakers continue to ban bath salts and K2 based on their chemical ingredients, retailers will always be one step ahead. "Yeah it's a constant back and forth battle that law enforcement has with these chemist who are wanting to produce illegal substances," says Mull.
Indiana's Poison Control reports 300 bath salts incidents this year. It mimics illegal drugs like methamphetamine or ecstasy and users report having hallucinations or even suicidal tendencies. Mull says in just 2 months Indiana's law is making a big dent in these types of cases, even if they're constantly playing catch-up
"It creates a lot of work when people are selling them, claiming they're legal but clearly they're having effects similar to controlled substances," said Mull.
Another frustration for many police departments: they usually don't have the right equipment to test bath salts and other substances like K2 in field. Typically, they have to send samples to a lab and results can sometimes take weeks.