Proposal to Expand Laws Covering Synthetic Drugs - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Proposal to Expand Laws Covering Synthetic Drugs

Debbie Bjerk testifies in support of HB 1133 Debbie Bjerk testifies in support of HB 1133
Bismarck, ND -

The North Dakota legislature passed a bill just last week that adds additional drugs to the list of controlled substances in the state.

And since then there are six new similar substances not covered by that bill.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says that's why a bill is needed to cover new synthetic substances showing up on a constant basis.

Donnell Preskey has the story.

Debbie Bjerk travels to the state capitol with her son Christian close to her heart.

"He was 18 when he died last June due synthetic over dose," says Debbie.

She told the Senate Judiciary Committee Christian was one of three kids who ingested a synthetic substance at a house party in Grand Forks. They were kicked out of the house for acting irrationally.

Bjerk says, "witnesses say he wandered two doors down, found at 5:45 a.m. laying in front yard."

Bjerk is surrounded by students, here to listen and learn about the legislative process.

She says she hopes sharing her personal story will influence how lawmakers vote and influence her young audience.

"To kids here today, share this story, please tell your friends don't try anything new."

Keith Bjerk also spoke directly to the students. Describing his son as a big kid, a 6'5, 250 pound football player.

He says the amount of drugs in Christian's system was equal to the size of the tip of a pen.

"It killed him, took him down and killed him," says Keith Bjerk.

"I don't know how long he suffered, I'm here to prevent others from dying," says Debbie.

"There needs to be a way to get this stuff off the streets," says Keith.

But the challenge according to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is keeping up with changes being made to the synthetic drug substances.

"Very difficult to keep ahead of this curve. This bill is the catch all. Those things not listed by chemical covered in this bill," says Stenehjem.

House Bill 1133 covers the drugs not known yet.

If the substance has a chemical structure similar to an illegal drug and has similar effects under this bill it would be illegal.

Within days of Christian Bjerk's death a teen in Minnesota died after using synthetics.

11 people in the Grand Forks area were charged in the drug conspiracy related to those two deaths.

All of them have pleaded guilty.

In addition there are pending charges against people in Texas for supplying the substances to the distributors in North Dakota.

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