State Leaders Meeting to Discuss Synthetic Drugs

DES MOINES, Iowa — An issue always on the minds of lawmakers is synthetic drugs and how to keep them off of Iowa streets.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to overdoses, suicides, and lifelong psychological effects right here in central Iowa.

An Indianola woman who lost her son five years to the drugs hopes lawmakers will continue to try and stay a step ahead of the people who make and sell them.

“We lost our son David to synthetics. There was nothing else in his system. He tried this and within an hour and a half, he took his own life,” said Jan Rozga, the mother of David Rozga.

The house public safety committee met Thursday to discuss the dangers of the drugs, what has been done to keep them off the streets in the past, and what still needs to be done.

Each of the past four years, bills have been passed to ban certain compounds found in synthetic drugs but each time, manufacturers have found new ways to skirt the law by finding new formulas.

In 2014, a civil suit was filed against a retailer caught selling synthetic drugs leading to a hefty fine and the loss of his liquor license.

The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy says these suits and stiffer penalties for synthetic drugs could be a part of the solution.

“We very much appreciate what I consider a new front in the battle. Working with other more traditional means, I think this really strengthens the hand of everyone trying to go after these drugs,” said Steve Lukan, the director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy.

There are new members on the public safety committee this year that are getting up to speed on the dangers of synthetic drugs.

The discussion on this topic will be picked up again at a meeting at the state house on Tuesday.