Soldiers’ use of illegal drugs sold at kiosks is “widespread,” according to the IDF. The police admit that their ability to catch violators who sell them is limited.

This was said on Tuesday at a meeting of the Knesset Committee on Drug Abuse. Committee chairman Taleb a-Sanaa said there is open marketing of these drugs, which have very dangerous effects.

“The authorities aren’t doing their job, and criminals are not punished. This cannot continue,” the MK said.

Aharon Grundman and Roni Berkovich of the Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical crime unit said the drugs are 40 times more powerful than marijuana. A soldier died recently a day after taking drugs, and four soldiers were hospitalized. “The police don’t do enough. Legal action must be taken against the marketer, producer and importer, but the authorities don’t do it,” they said.

Ch.-Supt. Ehud Wolf, head of the police’s analytical lab, said the complaints were inaccurate. “Every year, we hold about 10 comprehensive campaigns to nab those selling illegal drugs, and hundreds of samples arrive at the lab, where they are checked and identified. But there are chemical substances on which there is no information in the scientific literature.

So we can’t act in these cases. There are ways for civilian authorities to take action, as in the Haifa Municipality, which will not provide a business license if a retailer sells drugs.”

Supt. Kobi Ezra, an assistant to the Public Security Ministry’s legal adviser, said it has a limited ability to cope with drugs that are not yet listed as dangerous because they are new and unknown. “The legislation has to be amended, and this takes time.”

An IDF representative said that it too has difficulties taking legal action. The phenomenon is very common among soldiers, and the drugs cause serious side effects including delirium, tremors and difficulties using weapons. In most cases, we have difficulty presenting indictments for use, because they claim the drugs are legal and we can’t prove otherwise.”

Sanaa called on the Health Ministry and the police to prepare a program to cope effectively with the phenomenon and to present recommendations to the committee within six weeks.

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