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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Banning 22 Synthetic Drugs

synthetic drugs
As you might imagine, the story of synthetic drug use continues. In case you have not been following the surge of synthetic drug use in the United States, which is often linked to both serious side effects and fatal outcomes, we will take a moment to get you up to speed.

The class of drugs is usually used to describe chemicals, many of which are currently legal, that are sprayed on benign materials to be either smoked or ingested. Such chemicals are found on ‘bath salts’ or plant matter which is referred to as synthetic cannabis. The chemicals produce a host of intoxicating effects, stimulant or hallucinogenic in nature, that can cause users to act in odd/dangerous ways.

With that in mind, you may be wondering how many of these chemicals are not banned? The simple answer is that the compounds are produced in clandestine laboratories, particularly in China. There are several formulations which are constantly altered by chemists to skirt any attempts at government bans. The persistent effort to alter such formulas has led to a significant lack of oversight and testing, meaning that synthetic drug users serve as lab rats. Such people have no way of predicting the outcome of synthetic drug use.

Throughout the country, it is probably fair to say that synthetic marijuana is the most popular of these types of drugs—the most popular being known as “K2” or “Spice.” While in some areas, synthetic marijuana use incidents are isolated, in other places it is somewhat rampant. Officials in Florida and New York have seen a dramatic rise in synthetic drug use, causing lawmakers to scurry to get control of the situation.

In New York there were 130 suspected overdoses on synthetic drugs last week, CNN reports. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer likened the surge of synthetic drug use as being reminiscent to "a scene from 'The Walking Dead.' But it was no TV set, it was real life." Sen. Schumer has introduced a bill that would ban 22 synthetic drugs.

“New York’s most recent K2 binge that left our ER’s bulging and streets strewn with stupefied users with zombie-like symptoms are a sign of what’s to come if Congress doesn’t act quickly,” said Schumer in a news release. “We need a federal hammer to nail these toxic concoctions of synthetic drugs before things get worse. This federal legislation will ban 22 synthetic drugs, including powerful forms of fentanyl, crippling the unlawful chemists cooking up these drugs and the cartels that push them to our local stores and streets. Banning these drugs quickly will help the feds step up their game of whack-a-mole so that we can help stem the tide of synthetic drug use here in New York City and across the country.”

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