New controlled substances discussed

Senators debated a bill May 2 that would add substances and compounds to the Schedule I controlled substances list.

In order to be classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, a drug or substance must have a high potential for abuse, lack an accepted safe use under medical supervision and have no currently accepted medical treatment use in the United States. No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I controlled substances and they are subject to production quotas by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

LB298, introduced by Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy, would make adamantoylindoles, tetramethylcyclopropanoylindoles and adamantylindole carboxamides and their compounds Schedule I controlled substances. The bill also would add to the list phenethylamine, tryptamine and any material, compound, mixture or preparation containing either compound.

First and second generation synthetic cannabinoids used to make the drug commonly known as “K2” or “Spice” were banned in 2011, McCoy said, and the bill would prohibit the use of third and fourth generation synthetic cannabinoids that have been modified and used to make the drugs. Such drugs have dangerous, sometimes deadly effects and are most commonly used by teenagers, he said.

A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 27-0, made a technical change to the bill.

Omaha Sen. Brad Ashford, chairperson of the committee, supported the bill. Banning certain compounds broadens the spectrum of illegal substances used to make synthetic drugs, he said, so the bill would prevent the Legislature from having to ban specific drugs each time they legally are manufactured.

Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers disagreed, saying the bill is too broad and could prevent new types of beneficial drugs from being manufactured.

“[The bill] is banning so many things and it is not known if [the compounds] could be used in some other forms or combinations that could be useful to someone,” he said.

The Legislature proceeded to the next bill on the agenda before taking further votes. A Chambers amendment is pending.

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