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Attorney general urges Supreme Court to reinstate synthetic drug ban

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INDIANAPOLIS (March 2, 2015) - Indiana’s Attorney General is asking the state’s supreme court to reverse a ruling that declared part of Indiana's new synthetic drug law unconstitutional.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller recently appealed that ruling, and on Monday he urged the court to reinstate the ban on synthetic drugs.

For parents and police, these drugs have been a game changer, and for Jeanine Motsay's family, they were life-changing in the worst way, causing the death of her teenage son, Sam.

“My son didn’t get a second chance, and neither should the dealers or the distributors that are selling these poisons,” said Motsay in an interview with FOX59 last month after the court issues its ruling, calling the state’s law too vague for the average person to understand.

“Well the idea that it may be vague or hard for the average citizen to find the exact parameters of the statute… I mean that can be said about a lot of state statutes,” said Zoeller.

Meantime, lawmakers have been scrambling to keep up with all the new drugs, like N-bome, the drug that led to Sam Motsay's death.

“He and his friends were targeted that they were getting something that was like LSD,” said Motsay. “If that’s what is being sold and it turns out to be fatal, which it was in one use for my son, then I think that`s pretty clear. I don`t think there is anything vague about that.”

Zoeller says they need to have a law that's flexible, so they're not always chasing the exact scientific compounds being used.

“Every time we outlaw one drug they go back and tweak the molecules so they try to avoid the statute,” said Zoeller. “We feel it’s pretty clear when they’re selling these synthetic drugs that are hallucinogenic they know exactly what they’re doing and what the purpose is and they know it’s illegal.”

In January, the Court of Appeals struck down part of the state’s synthetic drug ban, claiming the specific illegal substances were too hard to find in the state code.

The law banned a list of more than 80 chemical compounds, any look-alikes, and any substance declared a synthetic drug by the Board of Pharmacy.

According to Zoeller’s office, the Court of Appeals decision is not yet in effect, and would not take effect until after the Indiana Supreme Court rules.

Also, the law's original author, state Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, has now written a bill meant to toughen and clarify the law should the court's ruling stand.

It passed the Senate last month and is now headed to the House.