Law enforcement considers how to enforce spice ban

Law enforcement considers how to enforce spice ban


by Nishi Gupta
Idaho's NewsChannel 7


Posted on September 30, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 1 at 10:22 PM

BOISE -- The abuse of spice is obviously a local concern.

In a recent survey, 20 state hospitals reported their ERs have seen many patients.

"Over 85 cases in the last six months had come to the emergency room as a result of use of spice and those were the hospitals that could identify that it was spice. So there could be more," said Sharon Burke of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

With that information, the Office of Drug Policy spear-headed the effort to get the product off store shelves and out of the hands of users.

Once it's law, those caught with it run the risk of being cited by police.

A spokeswoman for Boise Police says the department is in discussion with city attorneys on how to best enforce the law.

Idaho State Police say it's likely nothing will change for them. 

"We'd probably just do the same type of investigations that we do with any other illicit drug," said Sgt. John Stauffer of the Idaho State Police.

“It starts from a traffic stop or contact with individuals and develop that contact,” he said.

POST, the state group that trains incoming law enforcement officers, plans to incorporate spice into its drug curriculum.

The next group of trainees will become  familiar with its packaging, its smell, the effect on users, and how to successfully investigate its abuse.

There's a general consensus that there will be a learning curve with spice.

Not only will law enforcement have to become experts on the substance itself, they'll also have to figure out the best way to enforce it.

And that enforcement has raised many questions: should  businesses be notified of the law, should they be given a window of time in which they must remove the product, or will law enforcement simply write citations?

These are all questions they are asking and will have to answer soon.