Soldotna to consider synthetic drug ban

  • Monday, February 24, 2014 10:10pm
  • News

An ordinance prohibiting synthetic drugs — spice and bath salts — in the city of Soldotna is up for introduction at this week’s Soldotna City Council meeting.

Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik said synthetic drugs have been on the rise in the last several years with police officers seeing the drugs more often on traffic stops, but the they are “tough to chase.”

While the State of Alaska has made certain chemicals occasionally found in spice illegal, field test kits are not available, Mlynarik said. Police departments have to send the drugs to the Alaska Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab, which he said can be difficult and time consuming.

When a chemical has been banned by the state, manufacturers sometimes change it for one that isn’t, increasing the difficultly in stopping local trafficking of synthetic drugs, he said.

He said juvenile synthetic drug use is a concern and while the new restrictions, if adopted, may not deter some kids and teens from using, he thinks the making bath salts and spice illegal will help bring numbers down.

“I think (youth) may stay away from drugs that they know are banned — marijuana, meth, heroin — but on some substances where they know it’s not illegal, they could be more prone to try something like that where that substance can be just as bad as the others it’s just not illegal, ” Mlynarik said.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s website, synthetic cannabinoids use is “alarmingly high, especially among young people.” The 2012 Monitoring the Future survey for drug-use trends found one in nine 12th graders used synthetic cannabis in a one-year period, making it the second most popular drug used by that age group after marijuana.

While spice does contain dried plant material, active ingredients are designer cannabinoid compounds. No scientific studies have been done on spice’s effects on the brain, but the drugs produce effects similar to marijuana, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website.

Bath salts, whose white crystals resemble bathing products, carry risks of overdose, hallucinations and death and, like spice, effects on the brain are not fully known, according to

The new chapter code would make it illegal for anyone to possess, use, provide, sell produce, manufacture, distribute, offer, display, market or advertise any illicit synthetic drug. Each product, package or container can be counted as a separate minor offense, and all products in violation may be seized and held as evidence, according to the new chapter.

Adoption of the chapter would also make it unlawful for anyone to provide, sell or offer for sale a product for human consumption when it is labeled “not for human consumption.” Mlynarik said this labeling trend is a way for manufacturers to avoid the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations as well as accountability.

“I think it’s to avoid liabilities, too,” he said. “They can say, ‘Well, we said it’s not for human consumption,’ when clearly they know that they’re going to introduce it into their body in some way.”

The new code, if enacted calls for amendment to the city’s bail forfeiture and fine schedule to be amended to include a $500 fine for illicit synthetic drugs and a $500 for the sale of drugs marked not for consumption.

Public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for the March 26 council meeting.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read