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State Representative Erik Simonson to Chair Committee
Saint Paul, Minnesota —Today, Speaker Paul Thissen announced his intention to establish the Speaker’s Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs. State Representative Erik Simonson (DFL – Duluth) will chair the committee, which will include both DFL and Republican representatives. The Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs will examine drug abuse issues in Minnesota and will recommend policies to combat the spread of the sale of synthetic drugs across the state.
“Drug abuse is a serious public health issue facing Minnesota and it is rapidly evolving," said Speaker Thissen. “This committee will examine the misuse of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and synthetic drugs. In the coming months, this committee will work on this issue and come back next session with recommendations to curb drug abuse and sale across the state."
“As the representative of a district at the center of the debate around the sale and use of synthetic drugs, I am honored to have the opportunity to study this issue,” said Simonson. “Synthetic drug abuse and the misuse of controlled substances are very real threats to public safety and the public's health. I look forward to working together in a bipartisan manner to explore these issues and propose policy solutions."
Along with Rep. Simonson, the following members will serve on the committee: State Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R – Stillwater), State Rep. Jim Newberger (R – Becker), State Rep. Dan Schoen (DFL – St. Paul Park), State Rep. John Ward (DFL – Baxter)
The Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs will hold hearings over the interim to research drug abuse issues. Members of the committee will attend a public hearing June 7 in Duluth on synthetic drug abuse hosted by Attorney General Lori Swanson.
Speaker Thissen said the committee will issue a report with its recommendations by February 25, 2014.
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