CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed three new laws to fight the use and manufacture of illegal drugs in Illinois. The laws toughen penalties for meth manufacture near schools, add certain synthetic drugs to the Controlled Substances Act and prohibit anyone under 18 from purchasing or possessing any product containing the herbal drug Kratom. Today’s action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to keep schools safe and protect the health of the people of Illinois.
“Dangerous substances have no place near our schools or children,” Governor Quinn said. “These laws will help ensure that drugs stay away from these special places of learning. To those who choose to violate the law and manufacture the drug, today we are sending a strong message - these harmful drugs do not belong anywhere near our children.”
House Bill 4093, sponsored by State Representative Daniel Beiser (D-Alton) and State Senator William Haine (D-Alton), increases the penalty for methamphetamine, or meth, manufacture if it occurs within 1,000 feet of any school property.
The offense is now classified as aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacture, a Class X felony with tougher penalties than the Class 1 felony of participation in methamphetamine manufacture. The possible sentences for breaking the law are now a minimum of six years in prison, with up to 60 years possible, and fines up to $400,000 or the total street value of the drug. The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.
“I introduced House Bill 4093 after a very serious situation was brought to my attention by the South Roxana Police Department involving methamphetamine manufacture near a daycare,” Representative Beiser said. “I was shocked to discover our current law had a loophole in its language regarding proximity to what constituted school property. House Bill 4093 closes this dangerous loophole. I want to thank the law enforcement community for bringing this to my attention so that we can work together to protect schoolchildren and prosecute those reckless criminals who would otherwise put them in harm’s way.”
“The evils of meth are all around us. It destroys individuals, families and neighborhoods,” Senator Haine said. “Meth is a highly addictive and disruptive substance. There is no redeeming social value in the manufacture of meth.”
Governor Quinn today also signed Senate Bill 3275, sponsored by State Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and Representative Dennis Reboletti (R-Addison), that adds the synthetic drugs 25-I, 25-C and 25-B to the listed of controlled substances which are illegal to manufacture, deliver or possess with the intent to distribute. These hallucinogenic substances have been available for purchase online and are linked to a number of serious or fatal reactions, particularly among high school students. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The Governor also signed House Bill 5526, sponsored by Representative Reboletti and State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), which makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase or possess any product containing the herbal drug Kratom and also makes it illegal for anyone to sell or provide Kratom to a minor. This stimulant made from leaves indigenous to southeast Asia can mimic the effects of heroin or frequently abused pain killers in higher doses. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.
Since taking office, Governor Quinn has worked toward a drug free Illinois. He signed the Emergency Medical Services Access law in 2012, which provides immunity to a person who, in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose. As part of the Drug Overdose Prevention Program, a life-saving law took effect in 2010 to allow non-medical persons to dispense a drug overdose antidote in an emergency to prevent a drug overdose from becoming fatal.
Additionally, in 2009, the Governor approved law enforcement tracking of online or over-the-counter drug purchases to reduce access to pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, ingredients involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine commonly found in over-the-counter allergy and cold medicines. The Methamphetamine Precursor Tracking Act made a pilot program to track purchase of methamphetamine ingredients permanent and makes it tougher for meth manufacturers to obtain their ingredients in Illinois.
The pilot program helped Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Teams locate and seize 155 meth labs and make 231 meth arrests. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported that in calendar year 2012, Illinois had 801 clandestine methamphetamine lab incidents, the fifth highest in the country.