Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/14/1994 01:35 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 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.                                                                      

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