Claremore Daily Progress

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December 13, 2013

Synthetic drugs: Growing problem

CLAREMORE —

Cooperation is needed from the public to help law enforcement deal with a growing problem — the sale and use of synthetic drugs in Rogers County.
Tommy Dunlap, detective for the District 12 District Attorney’s office, said the use of drugs including K2, Spice and other types of synthetic drugs is an increasing problem. 
Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made chemicals that are applied (often sprayed) onto plant material and marketed as a “legal” high. 
Users claim that synthetic cannabinoids mimic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, according to www.whitehouse.gov.  
State and federal drug enforcement agencies have been actively investigating the issue since the drugs first surfaced in 2008.
Now more than 158 different types of synthetic drugs have been identified, according to DEA statistics.
Similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, the synthetic drug use is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, chest pain, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violent behavior, which causes users to harm themselves or others, according to www.justice.gov.
The drugs are not safe for human consumption, have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and no published data on the safety of use by humans, according to the website.
Parents can help make a difference by reporting the use of these drugs, Dunlap said.
The recent drug bust in Foyil is just one example of how these dangerous drugs are being sold over the counter to young people, Dunlap said.
People, in our community, should pay attention to this issue and if they know of or see drugs being sold, at convenience stores or any location they should call the DAs office or local law enforcement, according to Dunlap.
Anyone who has information about a crime can contact Dunlap at (918) 923-4534.
Another important part of the issue is the need for more tools for law enforcement to deal with synthetic drug use, according to Dunlap. Current laws need to be modified to better address this issue, he said.
Because the drugs are new and many times consist of many different chemicals it is difficult for the laws to be written to address only the illegal use of substances found in everyday life. Citizens can contact their legislature to discuss the issue and any concerns they may have about the new category of illegal drugs, according to Dunlap.

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