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The Battle Against Legal Highs Rages On

 

Florida law enforcement officials have been stymied in recent months, not knowing how to arrest and prosecute “bath salt” abusers. Meanwhile, in the quest for a legal high, people are dying from drug overdoses. In the state of Florida alone, 20 people have been killed by these substances.

Since April 2011 bath salts have made several headlines. The state Attorney General had issued a temporary ban on the drug in Florida. Within three months, the U.S. Department of Justice classified this fine white powder an “emerging domestic threat.” The substances, which are labeled “not for human consumption,” mimick the effects of more potent drugs and have the potential to yield dire consequences. Victims are frequently being rushed to emergency rooms and scientists can only guess what their long-term effects will be.

Drug makers are using their science to dodge lawmakers. Methylone, which was formerly unheard of and not a controlled substance, is now illegal in the United States. Federal authorities added the powerful drug to a list of banned chemicals that grows larger and longer each year. As a result of this, the chemical manufacturers simply tweak the formula to produce an unregulated drug. Several variations are still being openly sold because every time legislators outlaw one compound, chemists make more. In an online drug forum, “Synthetic Dave” provided his take on the country’s war on bath salts: “Congress is retarded, like all of the chemists and vendors and even users say: ‘You keep banning them, Well keep making new ones’…I laugh when I see this because they are never going to win.”

This summer, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has called for a national synthetic drug roundup, which will be the first of its kind. This ongoing effort to combat the new drugs will be called “Operation Log Jam.” However, unless anti-drug laws are strengthened, legislators will have to ban a virtually limitless list of stimulants or face lengthy, expensive legal battles. At street level, police don’t seem to have a strategy to fight the emerging substances, focusing instead on traditional illegal drugs and prescription drug abuse. When the officers encounter bath salts, they do not know what they are seeing.

 

Sources:

Velde, Jessica V. “As Florida Bath Salts Deaths Rise, Drug Enforcers Stymied.” Tampa Bay, Florida News. N.p., 12 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2012. <http://www.tampabay.com/>.

 

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Filed under: Alcohol and Drugs · Tags: Bath Salts, dea, drug enforcement, legal highs, Methylone