New Bedford Officials Unveil New Regulations Banning Synthetic Drugs
A cadre of city officials gathered at New Bedford City Hall Tuesday afternoon to announce new, stricter regulations on synthetic drugs.
Mayor Jon Mitchell was joined by New Bedford Health Director Brenda Weis, New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro, members of the City Council and the Board of Health to announce proposed regulations that will be up for discussion later this week.
The new regulations will ban the sale of synthetic drugs, also referred to as "Spice", "K2", "bath salts" and "potpourri" based upon the physiological effects they can have on the user.
"It allows our code enforcement folks to go into stores and demand that stores take it off the shelves or they're going to face a fine or even a shut down of their business, which is pretty steep in the city of New Bedford," Weis said.
Side-effects of synthetic drugs can include impaired perception, racing heart, vomiting, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, violent behavior and psychosis, according to a press release.
Previously, regulations would focus on the chemical composition of the drugs, which could be altered by manufacturers to skirt prohibitions.
The Health Department's enforcement team comes from funding in the current budget by Mitchell to better enforce these code violations.
Weis said many store owners have already voluntarily removed these products from their shelves, but there is still more work to be done.
Recent New Bedford High School graduate Himali Patel's parents own three convenience stores in New Bedford and several others throughout the state. She spoke on behalf of her parents Tuesday and called on other store owners to lead by example.
"Don't wait for the regulators to take action, step up and do the right thing for your customers and this community," Patel said.
The proposed regulations will be considered at a public meeting of the Board of Health Thursday, August 11, at 6pm at the Health Department Office, 1213 Purchase St.