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Braunstein’s bill to ban more synthetic drugs passes Assembly

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The state Assembly passed Assemblyman Ed Braunstein’s (D-Bayside) legislation last week that would ban a synthetic drug, known as “N-Bomb” or “Smiles” which started to surface in 2013,

Braunstein’s bill is being carried through the Senate by co-sponsor Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and comes following an uptick in hospitalizations in New York resulting from the use of synthetic drugs.

The bill, A.627 in the Assembly and S.738 in the Senate, would add three chemical substances found in the “N-Bomb” drug, as well as the short-acting synthetic psychedelic drug 2C-I, to Schedule 1, the list of banned substances in the state public health law.

“N-Bomb” is meant to mimic the effects of the hallucinogen LSD, but because the drug is produced chemically, its potency varies as do its effects.

Synthetic drugs, as the bill notes, are often viewed by their users as an alternative to already illegal drugs.

The chemical compounds contained within the drugs are often not included in medical drug testing for employment, probation or parole.

A similar law, which was pushed by Braunstein and passed in 2011, banned another synthetic psychedelic, and New York prohibited the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana known as “Spice” or “K2” in 2012.

“Just as my 2011 legislation banning bath salts helped to prevent an epidemic in New York, this bill would permanently ban these dangerous chemicals before the problem becomes widespread in our state,” Braunstein said in a statement. “These dangerous substances are being marketed throughout the country, and the result is the same as bath salts—damaging effects to the user and potentially dangerous consequences for our communities.”

Despite the laws already on the books banning many of the substances, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a state health alert in April warning that increased calls to state poison control centers this spring were the result of synthetic-drug use.

“Synthetic drugs are anything but harmless, and this rash of severe health emergencies across the state is direct proof,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We banned synthetic marijuana, bath salts and similar substances to avoid the disastrous results that occur.”

The chemical compounds used to manufacture “N-bomb” are next up for the state’s list of bannedsubstances, as the effects of the new synthetic drug are often even more harrowing than that of synthetic marijuana or bath salts. It has already resulted in 17 deaths in the United States, according to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Side effects of “N-Bomb” include but are not limited to seizures, psychotic episodes, loss of consciousness and bleeding from the brain.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 3:26 pm, June 25, 2015
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