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Nation needs uniform laws on synthetics

To put a spin on the old saying, if it looks like an illegal drug and acts like an illegal drug then it must be an illegal drug.

That is the approach our nation needs to take when it comes to synthetic drugs and substances manufactured to mirror narcotics and other illicit goods.

Law enforcement agencies and our communities have seen a significant increase in abuse cases involving synthetic marijuana and a substance that is commonly called bath salts.

The primary problem is that we simply do not know what chemicals are in these products and what the short or long-term effects of ingesting them are.

Synthetic drugs have grabbed attention recently after a high-profile case in Miami where a naked man allegedly high on bath salts attacked a homeless man and literally chewed his face off. The situation was only resolved when police shot and killed the attacker.

Ohio took a huge step forward recently when it adopted legislation making illegal these substances and others that attempt to replicate them.

Now is the time for the federal government to step up. Currently each state has its own set of laws regarding these synthetic drugs and other substances that are being abused. There can be wide variation between them. This makes getting these drugs off the streets and punishing those who break the laws very difficult.

We now know the question is how to deal with this new problem. Creating one uniform set of laws would be the first answer.