The Norman Transcript

Opinion

April 16, 2013

New drugs are posing problems for youths

NORMAN — Thursday’s interstate bust of a driver carrying about 14,000 individual packets of what police believe to be synthetic drugs came just a few hours before a local parents’ group held an informational session on the impact of such drugs. It also comes a couple of weeks after the bust of a Norman store suspected of selling synthetic marijuana and a similar bust in Woodward.

Charges have yet to be filed against the driver who told police he was traveling from Dallas to Kansas City Thursday afternoon. Police have turned the suspected drugs over to the OSBI for testing. They estimate the packets to be worth $400,000.

A pharmacist with the state Poison Control Center told a Parents Helping Parents group that users of synthetic drugs like Spice and K2 are the “guinea pigs” as there is little quality control in the manufacturing.

“Clinical tests have shown tremendous variation of potency from packet to packet of these substances...,” Scott Schaeffer told the parents’ group.

Since they are sold in convenience stores without any form of identification, a false sense of safety surrounds the drugs, which are often marketed as potpourri, incense or even household cleaners and plant food. Besides promoting the sale, the Internet has also spread information about the drugs.

The drugs also present new problems for health care workers. People under the influence of such drugs are often agitated and can endanger health care workers trying to calm them. Until the drugs have been identified, the doctors and nurses don’t know what they are dealing with or how to treat the patient.

Law enforcement officers say the manufacturers often stay one step ahead of the law. When one ingredient is outlawed, they just turn to another.

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