Posts Tagged ban synthetic drugs
A synthetic drug that has been existing in the streets of Florida and other U.S. states is now being touted as the next “dangerous drug”.
According to a recent Forbes article, Flakka is a crystalline designer drug that contains a powerful stimulant called alpha-PVP, which is classified as a Schedule 1 drug banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The effects of this compound are similar to its cathinone cousin MDPV, commonly found in bath salts. Despite the ban on Schedule 1 drugs, alpha-PVP and Flakka are both relatively unknown substances up until the DEA noticed a surge in usage over the years.
According to a news article, there were no reported cases of Flakka usage in 2010, but the number shot up to 85 cases by 2012. In 2014, the DEA has recorded more than 670 cases of Flakka use.
The stimulant compound in Flakka causes users “temporary insanity and violent outbursts,” according to experts interviewed by CBS New York. Dr. Stephen Dewey, who specializes in drug addiction, said that the effects of Flakka to the human body are very dangerous. “It’s crazy because they become so aggressive. They become aggressive and when they think they’re superhuman they act on it,” Dr. Dewey said. “Your body temperature can go up to 105, 106, and that can be lethal. You can die from cardiac arrest, you can die from arrhythmias, you can die from kidney failure.”
State Senator Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, invited the Indiana Attorney General’s office, Indiana State Police, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, and Indiana Sheriffs’ Association to an emergency meeting geared at eliminating the sale of synthetic drugs in Indiana.
Although no schedule has yet been confirmed, Merritt’s invitation came after a TV reported about a teenager who was hospitalized for using a synthetic drug which was allegedly purchased from an Indianapolis gas station, the Courierpress.com reports.
In his request letter, Merritt urges state officials that it’s high time “to let synthetic drug makers, retailers and users know that it must stop and will stop.”
Earlier this year, lawmakers have passed a legislation designed to crack down on retailers that sell illegal synthetic drugs, such as bath salts and spice. In addition, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced last month they were collaborating to take those drugs off store shelves.
“The legislature has spoken twice now with two separate laws empowering law enforcement with the tools to identify and crack down on the manufacturers, distributors and retailers providing synthetic drugs,” Merritt wrote in a letter requesting the meeting.
Merritt added he wants to ensure that the police and other state officials are “aggressively pursuing new ideas to fight these synthetic drugs still plaguing Indiana communities.”
The senator also took a stand on the case of the 17-year-old girl who was admitted to the hospital after using synthetic drug.
“If the pending investigation finds this Indianapolis gas station sold the girl synthetic drugs, I’m absolutely calling for its retail license to be suspended,” Merritt said. “They’ve had formal notice of the outlawed substances and the penalties for selling them.”
Fort Lauderdale is the latest to join the growing number of cities wanting to ban the sale or display of bath salts and synthetic marijuana, according to the CBS Miami report.
Broward County commissioners have asked the county’s attorney on Tuesday to draft an ordinance banning products that contain illegal substances or ingredients that mimic the effects of those substances.
“We’re talking about products that carry names such as ‘Innocence’ and are sold at convenience stores and gas stations, et cetera,” said Commissioner Sue Gunzburger who requested the ordinance.
Synthetic marijuana and bath salts have become an alarming concern to US officials and law enforcement following reports about teenagers and adults who have been abusing them. As of 2012, at least 44 states have already banned one or both of these substances.
Last year, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law prohibiting bath salts; however, manufacturers have managed to elude banning penalty by slightly altering the drugs’ chemical makeup.
In Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami, Sunrise and Sweetwater, ordinances banning synthetic marijuana and bath salts have been either passed or already in the final stages of passing.
Fort Lauderdale’s drafted ordinance is scheduled to come back for commission review in the fall.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 7 the new regulations aimed at cracking down the widespread use of bath salts and other synthetic drugs.
The new regulations were issued by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and approved by the Public Health and Health Planning Council to expand the existing list of prohibited drugs and chemicals to include dozens more substances that are now used to make synthetic drugs. The effort attempts to better ensure that distributors can no longer skirt the law by simply modifying the drug’s ingredients.
Part of the regulations is placing sanctions to owner of an establishment and/or an employee caught selling synthetic drugs, as well as increasing the criminal penalties for people who violate the rules. Fines of up to $500 and possible 15-day imprisonment will be imposed to violators.
“Bath salts and other synthetic drugs pose a direct, serious threat to public health and safety, and we must do everything we can to remove these harmful substances from sale and distribution in New York,” Governor Cuomo said.
According to the news release from the Governor’s Press Office, there has been an alarming increase in the number of New Yorkers using bath salts over the past year. In 2011, there were 39 reported emergency room visits in upstate New York as a result of bath salts. In 2012, 191 emergency room visits have so far been recorded — 120 of which occurred this past June and July. Meanwhile, as of 2011, there were 291 calls concerning synthetic marijuana poisonings, a big leap from the 20 calls received in 2010.
Governor Cuomo added that the regulations announced “attack the problem by helping our law enforcement officers enforce the rules, expanding the list of banned substances used to manufacture bath salts, and imposing tougher penalties so those who sell these drugs are held accountable.”
Dylan Evans got introduced to plant food when he was still a freshman at the MTSU. A self-confessed nerd, Dylan got into the school with an academic scholarship. His friend at college first offered him the drug, but he declined to join him.
One day he saw the synthetic drug sold in a convenience store, so he bought one and tried it. He was instantly hooked, and from them on, he would spend hundreds of dollars for the drug. The money he had in the bank was lost in a span of five months, but he kept it all from his family.
The synthetic drugs which Evans took has become a menace to the community, with more and more people getting addicted to it, and courts and police authorities are having difficulty controlling the situation.
For Rutherford County Drug Court director Mary Schneider, the problem of synthetic drugs is one battle that authorities can’t do enough with to win. In their area, synthetic drugs cases are treated as misdemeanor acts, and every time they catch addicts, they arrest them but then there’s nothing that will hold them longer. They get released, and then the whole cycle repeats for countless times.
“They’re addicts and they think it’s legal and they don’t know what they are getting into,” said Schneider. This is why Schneider is pushing for tougher laws that would deal with synthetic drugs. Having or selling synthetic drugs like bath salts and plant food should be made a felony, which Schneider thinks will help police authorities in controlling the growing problem.
Schneider and some of her colleagues will be approaching Rutherford County politicians in the hopes of having a bill passed to toughen laws on such drug cases.
It may not be the total answer to the problem, but at least the fear of a felony could somehow keep students like Dylan away from synthetic drugs.