It’s been almost a year since I hosted a round-table discussion with law enforcement, school officials and state representatives regarding synthetic drugs and their effects on our region.
It’s been almost a year since I hosted a round-table discussion with law enforcement, school officials and state representatives regarding synthetic drugs and their effects on our region. At that time, I made a commitment to do everything we could as a city to fight the sale and distribution of these drugs in our community. I appreciate your patience as this week, the city council got our first look at the solution!
That solution will come in the form of a city law that would prohibit the sale and display of drugs like “Syn” as well as bath salts. To those that read it, it will sound more like a college chemistry lesson than an ordinance, but that’s what we feel it will take to be effective.
The main challenge comes because of the relative “ease” that chemists making these drugs have in changing the chemical composition of the product. One added molecule here or there or a subtle chemical change “could” make the product different from what is currently banned. Given that the legislature’s ability to modify state laws is much less resilient than the city’s, we’re hopeful that our ability to quickly update our laws, as necessary, to keep up with those making changes to the drugs will provide the added incentive to fear prosecution. And it also sends a clear message that we are committed to aggressively pursue anyone who is displaying or selling the product and do our best to stop it! That alone can be a deterrent as well.
In addition to writing a law that has the most up-to-date chemical list we could find, the city is taking one added step - to reach out to other communities around the area to share our ordinance and encourage their local officials to consider enacting similar laws. Without a united effort, Neosho’s efforts could simply “push” the product out of our city limits and into the county and into other towns around us. That’s not an acceptable solution either.
It’s also important to know that no law is ever a complete solution to any problem – including this one. But with our efforts leading the way, we hope that the days of seeing these terrible drugs on our streets will be numbered. They have already impacted too many families in our community. Having them gone can’t come soon enough. I expect the laws to be in place the first week of May.
To those that love a garage sale, this is your weekend. To those that don’t, well, Sunday will be here soon! Today’s weather is superb. Tomorrow will be nice too, but watch out for those winds!
Until next time: keep the faith, stay the course, and may God bless Neosho!
Richard Davidson is mayor of Neosho.