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Deadly effects of synthetic drugs masked by innocent-sounding names

 

Designer, synthetic drugs such as bath salts, Spice, and Molly are all highly dangerous and addictive but manufacturers of these drugs would have you think otherwise. They often give the drugs harmless, even humorous, names to lure the unsuspecting customer.

Synthetic marijuana or ‘Spice’ can be found on store shelves labeled as “K2,” ‘Scooby Snax,’ and ‘Mr. Smiley.” It’s marketed mostly to kids and teens in packages that sport cartoonish images like The Joker, smiley faces and even Scooby Doo. Many think ‘Spice’ isn’t dangerous or illegal because it can be purchased in tobacco shops, convenience stores and gas stations. 

Harmless herbs sprayed with deadly chemicals, the drug can leave patients catatonic or in some cases, dead. Psychotic episodes, extreme agitation, anxiety, and difficulty breathing have also been reported. And making matters worse, very little is known about synthetic marijuana or how to treat an adverse reaction or overdose. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the number of calls to poison centers related to synthetic drugs soared from about 3,200 in 2010 to more than 13,000 in 2011.

“I can’t let another child overdose. "

- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

In Colorado, “Fox Files” sat down with Stephane Colbert, whose 19-year-old son Nicholas died after smoking ‘Mr. Smiley.’

“I'm so surprised at how many people have not heard of this,” she said. “It boggles my mind.” 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi  told “Fox Files” that she first heard of these synthetic drugs soon after being sworn into office.  She received a disturbing letter from a local Sheriff.  “Two months into office, I got one from Sheriff [Frank] McKeithen in Bay County, a small county in the Panhandle.  And he started talking about this thing called bath salts, and I had never heard of it.  And he said, ‘These things are a hallucinogenic.  Kids think they can fly.’  And he was scared to death because spring break was coming up, and you have got teenagers in high rises who are hallucinating.”

Attorney General Bondi immediately sprang into action. She said, “I can’t let another child overdose. I called the sheriff the next morning and he drove three hours straight over to my office. And we sent two FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) agents into the Tallahassee Mall. They bought this stuff legally. They took it back to the lab, they tested it, and they said, ‘Pam, this is synthetic heroin, LSD, acid.’” 

This began her fight to make synthetic cathinones, chemical compounds found in bath salts, and synthetic cannabinoids, found in ‘Spice,’ illegal in her state. As attorney general, Bondi has the ability to create an emergency order and, with a stroke of a pen, make these substances illegal.  Around February of 2011 she did just that.

“So we signed an emergency order, and outlawed around 20 compounds," Bondi said. "They got it off the shelves in the Panhandle before spring break hit.  But then, sure enough it’s such a money maker for these drug dealers wearing white coats, these chemists, that it infiltrated our state.”

Since that first emergency order, Bondi has since outlawed more than 127 compounds.  Her fight against these drugs seems to be working.  In October of this year, Bondi outlawed only two new compounds. She explains, “Instead of having to go in and outlaw hundreds of them, we only had two more here in Florida.  So, we’re catching up with them. So what we’re doing is we are driving them underground.  So instead of selling them on top of the counter, which they were legally doing, now they are having to sell them, under the counter, by unscrupulous store clerks. “

Bondi took “Fox Files” correspondent Heather Nauert on a raid of a convenience store in Zephyrhills, Florida that netted over 200 packets of “Spice.” But Bondi’s fight is far from over however. The FDLE, along with  other law enforcement agencies, continue to work to keep these illegal drugs out of the hands of children, teens and adults. 

Fox Files airs Saturday, November 23 at 10PM ET, and Sunday, November 24 at 9PM ET on the Fox News Channel. 

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