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Drug use made easy

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

October 21, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's drug commander says store owners are making it easy for junkies to get their fix. He says there's a clear problem with make shift drug paraphernalia being sold right on the counter. Those items are legal for stores to sell, but should they be?

A copper cleaning pad and a tiny glass vase. On their own, those items are innocent enough. But together, they can be used as a crack pipe.

City leaders now want to pass an ordinance, so store owners won't target drug users. The next time you walk into a convenience store, take a look around. What you see on the counter may have new meaning. Major Derrell Smith said, "If you go into a store and you see a vase with a little rose in it and a brillo pads and stuff right next to it, or the little copper pads, it's to make a crack pipe."

Smith says there's a reason those items are within easy reach. "Targeting drug users.  It's just easy access. The average person doesn't know what's going on. They don't even know what they're looking for, but the drug dealers know and the drug users know and they go in there and buy that, for $6, or $8, they have a crack pipe and everything they need."

And crack isn't the only drug they can smoke with what they buy in some stores. "We've made it easy for them now, or the manufacturers of these wraps have, they come in different flavors, easy access. I don't know too many people that are rolling their cigars in watermelon flavor or cherry flavored wrappers."

That's why the city is considering adopting an ordinance to outlaw things that are obviously used for drug use. City Attorney Nathan Davis said, "There are already state laws prohibiting drug paraphernalia from being sold. It would simply be carrying out the logic behind that to Identify other items."

The police chief and drug commander would have to provide a very specific list of the type of items to be outlawed.  Smith said, "I think that's excellent. Anything we can do to make it harder and to slow it down benefits us and benefits the community. It's an ongoing problem. Why should we be making it any easier?"

Some states have already outlawed rose tubes, declaring them drug paraphernalia. The city commission plans to discuss adopting an ordinance which would ban selling apparent drug paraphernalia at an upcoming meeting.

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