• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 48s

‘Spice’ outlawed across Alaska

By KTVA Alaska Photojournalist: Jacob Curtis - 6:50 PM July 16, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

“Spice” is now illegal across the state.

Wednesday morning, Gov. Sean Parnell signed a law aimed at getting the substance out of the hands of Alaskans.

Lawmakers and law enforcement said they hope signing Senate Bill 173 into law will initiate the end of a years-long game of chase.

“It’s been like chasing smoke trying to get your hands around it,” said Anchorage Police Department Chief Mark Mew. “I think we’ve tried three different forms of law by now.”

The law addresses any person or business found in possession of any package containing blatantly misleading labeling in Alaska.

“When we can see the disconnect between the packaging and how it’s being marketed and sold, it’s a $500 fine,” Mew said.

When asked if he thought the law would make an impact on Spice users, former Spice addict “James” said: “it might, but the addiction is so strong.”

KTVA agreed to keep James’ identity hidden due to his probation, which is actually how he said his addiction to Spice began.

“It’s almost like a substitute for weed,” James said. “That’s what you think at first.”

A seizure and week-long withdrawals after months of use proved Spice was much more serious, he said.

“I went into debt almost because of it and that’s crazy to say because you can get it at the store, any smoke shop, but it’s addictive,” James said.

Though synthetic substances have been banned in the municipality for months, James said it still isn’t hard to come by.

“I know you can still get it in Anchorage from the smoke shop owners,” James said. “They still sell it underground to the people that used to get it. They still do that. I know people that get it from them.”

Whether this new statewide law will initiate the end of synthetic drug consumption or just be another move to be countered by synthetic-drug makers remains to be seen. But lawmakers and this recovering user agree it is a move in the right direction.

The $500 penalty is a civil fine, not criminal. If it’s not paid, the money will be taken out of your permanent fund dividend, according to APD.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Return of the RV: ’5-star camping’ is on the rise

    by Liz Raines on Jun 27, 22:54

    Many out-of-staters are now picking wheels over water when it comes to making the most of an Alaskan summer. After taking a hit during the 2009 recession, the sale and rental of recreational vehicles (RV) is on the rise. According to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RV shipments nationwide dropped dramatically between the summers of […]

  • Sports

    Chinooks’ skipper beats the odds, returns to Alaska and the baseball diamond

    by Dave Goldman on Jun 27, 22:44

    Walk around Alaska long enough and someone will tell you they’re “living the dream.” Jon Groth can relate. The Chugiak High School Chinooks head baseball coach made a triumphant return to the diamond and his team after a season long absence in 2015. It could have been longer. Groth had led the Chinooks since 2012. But in the fall of 2014 he […]

  • Lifestyle

    ‘Parade of Bears’: Bright, colorful bears to find permanent homes in Anchorage

    by Shannon Ballard on Jun 27, 21:59

    Fifteen full-size bears arrived in Anchorage over the weekend. They’re not grizzlies or black bears—they’re made of fiberglass and are part of a public art exhibit, much like other animal statues that have been featured in major cities around the world. Local businesses paid about $1,750 to sponsor one of the bear sculptures and chose artists […]

  • Lifestyle

    Preventable deaths: What you can do if someone is overdosing on drugs

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jun 27, 21:53

    As the Anchorage Police Department tries to figure out what led up to the death of 45-year-old Darlene Kunayak, they want to encourage the public to call 911 if they see someone in a possible overdose situation. APD believes Kunayak died of a heroin overdose on May 7. Autopsy results showed no signs of foul […]

  • News

    Top command change coming to JBER

    by Bonney Bowman on Jun 27, 21:33

    In just two weeks, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will have a new commander. Col. Brian Bruckbauer’s two-year post is coming to an end. He called Alaska a “dream assignment” and said leaving will be bittersweet for him and his family. As the so-called “Mayor of JBER”, Bruckbauer said when he first arrived in Alaska, handling the […]

  • News

    BlueCrest Energy launches ‘Cosmopolitan’ project at Anchor Point

    by Rhonda McBride on Jun 27, 21:19

    Cook Inlet may be an aging oil field, but it still has some surprises. A Texas company struck oil in March near Anchor Point and hopes to tap a reservoir that could hold between 70 and 200 million barrels of oil. BlueCrest Energy may have its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, but it’s headed by Benjamin […]

  • News

    Potential record-setting year for Anchorage road construction projects

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jun 27, 19:17

    The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) says this year could set a new record for road construction projects in Southcentral Alaska. DOT spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy said 2015 set a record, with more than $300 million spent on projects. This year, she said, spending could be even higher. McCarthy said the biggest ongoing project […]

  • News

    Pediatricians urged to screen teens for suicide risks

    by Ashley Welch / CBS News on Jun 27, 16:22

    In the wake of new information that suicide has risen to the second-leading cause of death among adolescents, a leading group of physicians is urging pediatricians to screen their patients for suicidal thoughts and risk factors. In a new report, the American Academy of Pediatricians offers guidelines to help identify at-risk teens. According to the group, some […]