Group Pushes for Drug Paraphernalia Ban

Md. group wants crackdown on drug paraphernalia sales

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    Del. Joanne Benson arguing for stricter laws against selling drug paraphernalia.

    The 202 Coalition in Prince George's County is pushing state lawmakers to ban the sale of drug paraphernalia in convenience stores. Delegate Joanne Benson (D-24th District) said Monday there is a major problem with these products being sold to minors.

    Benson argued the sale of "drug pipes, crushing devices and single sell cigars" harmful to the Prince George's community.

    "There's no reason why Prince George's County Public Schools can't move to the top. But it's these types of things that impede the education and well-being of our children and citizens," she said while holding a pipe. Benson also claimed she sent minors into stores across the county.

    During the 2004-2005 school year Benson said officials conducted drug surveys among students in the county.

    According to that survey:

    • 9.2% sixth graders reported using a drug other than alcohol or tobacco.
    • 21% eighth graders reported using a drug other than alcohol or tobacco.
    • 39.6% high school seniors reported using a drug other than alcohol or tobacco.
    • 419 students were suspended for substance abuse problems.

    Benson also said in 2005 more than 2,700 people were arrested for drug-related problems in Prince George's County. She said she hopes lawmakers will join with her to put legislation into law that prevents stores from selling the paraphernalia.

    Meanwhile Benson plans to send letters to stores asking them to stop selling the goods. She called for the community to boycott the stores that refuse to remove those products from their shelves.