Young people who want to help young people made a pitch to Utah legislators this week, seeking support for a bill that would help stymie the manufacture of illicit drugs.
The students, Paulette Martin and Sonya Droguette, spoke during a luncheon in the State Capitol sponsored by the Salt Lake County Commission on Youth.They have spent months researching the drug problem and helping to develop a bill that would tighten Utah regulations on the availability of the chemicals used to create illegal drugs such as PCPs and methamphetamines.
"In Utah, any person with a picture identification can obtain chemicals for PCPs and methamphetamines," said Paulette. She said some other states, including California, have better controls on the "precursor" chemicals.
Utah has been identified by illicit drug manufacturers as a place to obtain the makings for their goods, said Sonya. Utah has some laws regulating the purchase of chemicals, but they are not stiff enough and not well enforced, she told the legislators and youth workers at the luncheon.
The students, members of a Highland High School government class taught by Greg Hayes, have worked with Rep. Jerrold S. Jensen, R-Salt Lake, to develop a bill that contains many of the elements of California's law.
The bill, not yet numbered, but expected to be introduced next week, would expand the list of controlled substances to meet Drug Enforcement Agency guidelines. It would also tighten guidelines for reporting and purchasing the chemicals, including requiring an identification form naming the individual making the purchase and the company for which it is being obtained, as well as the intended purpose.
In addition, the measure would establish a "clean-up" fine for people who create an environmental hazard while working with the chemicals in question.