Members of a designated Sheriff’s Department task force, aimed at the eradication of dangerous synthetic drugs, will serve warning letters to area businesses advising them the sales of “bath salts” or “spice” – as they are commonly called – will not be permitted in the county.
Deputies will be delivering letters Wednesday, October 23, to area smoke shops and liquor stores in an effort to educate business owners of the legal ramifications of selling synthetic drugs. The letters will outline state law banning the sale of synthetic drugs and give the owners an opportunity to dispose of the specified product in a safe and legal fashion. Businesses served on Wednesday will have the opportunity to voluntarily submit any “spice” or “bath salts” they may be selling and avoid criminal prosecution.
“Some business owners may not understand exactly what they are selling,” Sheriff John McMahon said. “We want to educate them on the law and the dangers of synthetic drugs so they do not put the residents of this county – or their business – in jeopardy.”
“Spice” and “bath salts” – also known as “designer drugs” – have been scientifically formulated to create the same effects of more common drugs, such as marijuana, methamphetamine or PCP. But these “fake” substances are not detected on standard drug tests because they are a synthetic imitation. For this reason, abuse tends to run rampant in the military and other professions in which drug testing is a common occurrence.
The Sheriff’s Department has worked closely with various residents involved in local coalitions throughout the County who are concerned about the covert effect synthetic drugs have had on their community. These dedicated community members have been a driving force in garnering awareness of this problem and opening law enforcement’s eyes to the extent of possible sales in the county, McMahon said.
Spice is a mixture of herbs sprayed with the synthetic chemicals that is usually smoked. Bath salts are synthetic chemicals in a powder or crystal form that are usually snorted or injected. These highly addictive, synthetic drugs are marketed as potpourri, decorative sand, shoe deodorizers or glass cleaner; however they have nothing in common with the products they are advertised to be. They are packaged using bright colors and cartoon characters in an obvious ploy to attract children.
“These drugs are affecting two segments of the population who deserve the most protection: our children and the brave men and women who serve in our country’s armed forces,” McMahon said.
One of the most common effects of these drugs is homicidal and suicidal tendencies, making them extremely dangerous for law enforcement officials who are called to respond to those who may be under the influence of spice or bath salts.
The effects of these synthetic, or “designer” drugs, range greatly because there is no prescribed dosage on any of the packages. Users have been known to suffer cardiac arrest, brain seizures, tremors, and excited delirium. Others have extraordinary strength, similar to the effects associated with the use of PCP, making the Taser and other force options ineffective. While producers of bath salts promise a euphoric high, similar to cocaine or methamphetamine, the psychotic results of the synthetic drugs are far more severe and addictive.
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