In an effort to protect people across Northern Michigan and throughout the state, Rep. Sue Allor has unveiled a measure to crack down on Etizolam – a dangerous unregulated drug that has become popular in the region.
Etizolam, a prescription medication in Japan, India and Italy, is similar to benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax. However, anyone can buy Etizolam online without a prescription because it is federally unregulated in the United States.
Allor’s plan, which will be formally read in on Wednesday for introduction, would classify Etizolam as a Schedule 1 controlled substance as it does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S., and has a potential for abuse and dependence. The classification would align Michigan with other states.
“We’ve learned the dangers of this drug,” said Allor, of Wolverine. “It slowly shuts down the respiratory system to the point where people who abuse it can’t breathe. This drug can cause death, but it is readily available to anyone with internet access. That’s very concerning, and it’s why I am working to rein it in for the safety of people and their families.”
Before introducing a similar plan during the 2019-20 legislative term, Etizolam was brought to Allor’s attention by Lt. Todd Ross of the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department. Ross expressed concerns about the uncontrolled chemical and increasing instances of abuse he and his colleagues have seen in Northern Michigan – as more common drugs such as heroin and cocaine are not as readily available compared to areas downstate.
“This is especially a concern in rural Michigan,” Allor said. “As we see more and more drugs making their way to region, I hope this bill will act as a deterrent to its use.”
Possession of a Schedule 1 controlled substance in Michigan can result in criminal penalties ranging from up to four years in prison and $25,000 in fines to life imprisonment and $1,000,000 in fines.
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