By Daniel Lombardo
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – A state legislator is asking Gov. Bob McDonnell to add the designer drug 25i to the list of chemical compounds that would be outlawed under a bill recently passed by the General Assembly.
Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi, a Republican who represents the 68th House District in the Richmond area, urged McDonnell to ban 25i after police in Chesterfield County said that in recent weeks, seven people there apparently had overdosed on the drug and been hospitalized.
“I got a call from a deputy commonwealth’s attorney, and they were having massive problems with the substance,” said Loupassi, whose district includes parts of Chesterfield County, Henrico County and the city of Richmond.
According to drug experts, 25i is a hallucinogen; some say it is as powerful and dangerous as LSD. The drug comes as a white powder. Users, often young people, inhale it. Officials say 25i causes erratic and even violent behavior.
“One kid took five officers to subdue,” Loupassi said.
He asked McDonnell to add 25i to House Bill 508, which is on the governor’s desk waiting to be signed into law.
A year ago, the General Assembly passed a law aimed at prohibiting the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana and designer drugs called “bath salts.” HB 508 would expand that law by adding more chemical combinations to the list of previously criminalized substances.
If 25i is added to the list, it would officially become a controlled substance, and possession of the drug would be a felony.
If McDonnell includes 25i in HB 508, his recommendation would be considered by legislators during their “reconvened session” on April 18.
So far, the only reported cases of 25i have come from Chesterfield County. On Sunday night, about 300 parents met with county officials to learn about the drug.
Loupassi fears that if 25i remains legal, it is likely to gain popularity.
“I gather that it is going to start going to other places, too,” he said.
The Chesterfield County Police Department’s press release warning about the designer drug 25i is at http://tinyurl.com/drug25i.
Capital News Service is a student news-gathering program sponsored by the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University.