Community needs to make a plan to solve synthetic drug problemAs many of you know, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson recently held a public hearing in Duluth to explain her position on synthetic drugs and take testimony from Duluthians regarding the destruction of our community due to the operation of the Last Place on Earth.
By: Erik Simonson, For the Budgeteer News
As many of you know, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson recently held a public hearing in Duluth to explain her position on synthetic drugs and take testimony from Duluthians regarding the destruction of our community due to the operation of the Last Place on Earth.
The turnout was amazing. The testimony given was extremely powerful and sent a strong message that Duluth is in crisis, and needs assistance.
I want you to know those cries for help are not going unheard. As chair of the House Select Committee on Synthetic Drugs, I see two challenges facing the state of Minnesota.
First, we clearly have a chronic problem with the sales and use of synthetic drugs, which are being marketed as “legal” and therefore “safe.” We know the exact opposite to be true. In addition, the problem is growing across the state, though clearly Duluth has the largest problem. Our long-term strategy has to be focused statewide.
The second challenge is every bit as complicated. Duluth has an acute need: The sale of these destructive drugs needs to stop and it needs to stop soon. I recognize that, the attorney general recognizes that, and the rest of the Duluth legislative delegation recognizes that.
We know that lack of action will lead to more businesses closing, additional lost revenue from tourism, further exasperated public health and public safety pressures and, of course, senseless additional injuries and potentially deaths.
I recognize the urgency. I met with the attorney general on Wednesday to discuss options and develop an effective strategy.
We both agreed that the problem is only growing and needs to be addressed immediately. My committee on synthetic drugs will hold its first meeting on July 9. Our goal is to present a plan to the legislature to take up on the very first day it meets in February.
But, in the meantime, the office of the attorney general and I will work with the Duluth City Council and law enforcement to bridge that gap through stepped-up enforcement and new ordinances.
You all spoke loud and clear — we can see that now is the time to act!
Erik Simonson (DFL) is the Minnesota state representative for district 7B.