Legislative committee is reviewing South Dakota drug laws

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A legislative committee is reviewing South Dakota’s drug laws before the 2020 session to determine whether changes need to be made.

FBI data shows the state led the nation in per capita drug-related arrests in 2017.

The committee, which met Monday, is considering whether to reduce ingestion of a controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor, as in other states.

Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom says such a change wouldn’t reduce the number of addicts and that the state needs more drug treatment and prevention programs.

State figures show 877 people were charged with ingestion of a controlled substance during the 2019 fiscal year, and 1,843 people were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

The committee comprises legislators, court and law enforcement officials.