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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NFL Has Not Banned Synthetic Drugs

In the United States, the sale and use of synthetic drugs, such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana, is illegal. The banning comes in the wake of thousands of cases where the use of such drugs has led to bodily harm and, in some cases, the loss of life. The insidious drugs are highly unpredictable to the ever changing chemical formulations that cause intoxication. Every time the government bans a particular chemical, synthetic drug makers tweak the drug to side step the crackdowns. While law enforcement agencies have made some serious synthetic drug busts and it is harder to find the shiny packets contain herbs sprayed with chemicals in convenience stores, the reality is that synthetic drugs are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Despite the many dangerous side effects linked with synthetic drug use, the National Football League (NFL) has not added synthetic drugs to their list of banned substances, USA Today reports. What’s more, the league rarely will test the chemicals in synthetic drugs when they perform urinalysis. The lack of synthetic drug bans and the failure to test for the chemicals regularly comes as somewhat of a surprise considering that several players have been linked to synthetic drugs.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the NFL, said that because the substances are illegal, "synthetic marijuana falls within the purview of the policy.” McCarthy adds that, “Synthetic marijuana is not currently part of the basic testing panel, but the medical advisors have the discretion to add it to an individual’s testing panel as appropriate.”

While there are currently hundreds of variations of synthetic drugs, the most commonly used are known as synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic marijuana, is supposed to mimic the euphoric effects of traditional marijuana. However, the two drugs only share a common name, synthetic marijuana puts users at risk of severe side effects, including hallucinations, seizures and possibly death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study which found that synthetic marijuana was linked to 15 deaths in just over a five month period last year, the article reports.

“Referring to these drugs as synthetic marijuana gives people the false sense of safety,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne. “The use of these drugs can have disastrous consequences and it’s not just a problem here in the U.S. This is an issue around the globe.”

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