Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/14/1994 01:35 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR TAYLOR introduced SB 220 (ADD "CAT" TO SCHEDULE IIA DRUG LIST) to committee and invited the sponsor, SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS, to explain his bill. SENATOR TAYLOR noted the bill before the committee was CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 220(STA). SENATOR ELLIS explained the bill proposed to add to the list of controlled subsistence in schedule IIA the substance known as methcathinone, or "cat." He also explained it was highly addictive and an easy to manufacture substance. He was shocked to find cat was not currently an illegal drug in the State of Alaska, and he explained the extreme dangers of the drug. SENATOR ELLIS claimed there was considerable support in law enforcement around the state as well as the anti-drug community. SENATOR TAYLOR noted that CLARENCE WORTH of the Juneau Police Department and MARGOT KNUTH from the Criminal Section of the Department of Law present and in support of the legislation. SENATOR TAYLOR invited MR. WORTH to testify. MR. WORTH explained he has been a police officer for eight years, and for three years working exclusively with drug cases here in the Juneau area. He described being horrified at the realities of drug abuse and addiction, and as a result, he has dedicated his career to trying to educate kids about drugs. MR. WORTH said methcathinone is fairly recent in Juneau, and he has sent for additional information from the Alaska State Trooper Intelligence Unit in Anchorage. He also received information from the Western States Information Network, which is an information dissemination network working with police departments in the Western United States. MR. WORTH explained cat is easier to manufacture than an other of the controlled substances, can be made over night, can be made with very few laboratory supplies such as glass jars, rubber tubes, and a source of heat. He further explained it can be made from chemicals that are readily available including things such as draino, battery acid, epsom salts, and various paint solvents. He believes it is more addictive than cocaine and people can become hooked the second time they try it, which ranks it with crack cocaine with the power of addiction. MR. WORTH described cat as changing the personality of the user, being used for binging, and selling for about $100 per gram. For a $500 investment in supplies, the return could be $20 thousand, and he described the potential for being very damaging to our society. Number 415 Next to testify was RANDY CRAWFORD, a First Sergeant with the Troopers, permanently assigned to the director's office. He has a continuous work history in Alaska, and he said the bill was supported by the Alaska State Troopers. He reiterated the ease of manufacture and the terrible consequences, but he explained Alaska typically falls a couple of years behind in some of the designer drugs. He explained it was prohibited Outside in most states and he predicted the committee members would not want to see it in Alaska. MR. CRAWFORD explained the user groups Outside are college age students, but it has begun to permeate industries where there is a high degree of physical effort involved, such as the previous use of amphetamines by people who stay up for a great length of time. He said there were these kinds of markets in Alaska, and he offered to answer questions. SENATOR TAYLOR indicated MS. KNUTH had signed in and advised the Criminal Division of the Department of Law supports the bill. SENATOR HALFORD and SENATOR DONLEY suggested moving CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 220(STA) with a unanimous DO PASS. Without objections, so ordered.