By Michael Broihier
Tuesday morning the Lincoln County Fiscal Court held a special-called meeting to hear the first reading of an ordinance designed to stop the sale of synthetic drugs in the county.
Magistrate David Faulkner said he was “tickled to death” to get the new rules on the books. “This is a bigger deal than people think. The fact of the matter is we are going to make life miserable for the people who are selling it,” Faulkner told his fellow magistrates. County Attorney Daryl Day had no sympathy for those the law would affect. “You can ask me, Sheriff Folger or Jailer David Gooch; they’re making life miserable for us,” he said.
Faulkner had been working on an ordinance with Day since The Interior Journal ran a story almost a year ago about the D&M Market selling drug-analogs under the counter. The story resulted in a raid by the Sheriff’s Office to seize the dangerous compounds, but lab analysis proved that the product D&M was selling was not covered under the narrowly-written Kentucky law that made some ‘bath salts’ illegal.
The pair had been stymied until Day was contacted by Summer Lewis, a licensed, professional drug counselor from Laurel County. Summer said in an interview that she became involved when she’d queried one of her teen drug-user groups about synthetic drugs and fourteen out of fifteen kids in the group admitted to using the legal drug alternatives. “I just got tired of hearing the kids were still using drugs and them saying, ‘...but they’re legal’ all of the time,” Lewis said.
Lewis lifted her county’s version of the ordinance directly from McCracken County, which was first in the state to write their own rules against the drugs, but it passed the Laurel County Fiscal Court too late. On the eve of the Laurel magistrates passing a ban, a local high school student had to be taken out by ambulance and was hospitalized for heart damage after smoking some synthetic marijuana.
Lewis passed copies of the ordinance on to Knox and Whitley counties, whose fiscal courts have already had a first reading of the law. First readings are already scheduled in Clay and Jackson counties as well, Lewis said.
Nearby counties bearing down on synthetic drug sales has not deterred users and sellers at all and that’s why Lewis contacted Day. She said that she asked kids who were using the drug where they were getting them and was told, “We just drive down to this place in Crab Orchard that will sell it to anyone,” which angered Day.
“We are being looked upon they way we look upon Florida with their pill mills,” Day said.
Lewis said that the only resistance she is getting has come from the county attorney in Madison County. “He said that it wasn’t the business of counties to write crime laws and that it should be left up to the state,” Lewis said.
Day disagrees. “I know what they do in Frankfort is important but we can move a lot quicker. We can have a law on the books by March first and it might take the state a year to pass a law,” he said.
Lewis agrees with Day. “This isn’t to undermine state or federal lawmakers, this is a quick fix until they can pick it up at their level,” she said.
After the vote, Magistrate Dexter Todd, who represents Crab Orchard, said, “We’ve had a lot of drug-deaths in Crab Orchard. We’ve got a lot of drugs. Kids are passing it around like it’s candy.”