Local law enforcement officials have experienced an increase in reported cases involving the abuse of synthetic drugs. The drugs being encountered in Inyo County are synthetic cannabinoid products such as Spice or K2 and synthetic stimulants commonly known as “bath salts.” These synthetic drugs are sometimes purchased in convenience stores and are also being sold via the internet, marketed as incense and bath salts.
Synthetic cannabinoid products such as Spice or K2 are often marketed as incense and may resemble potpourri. They are sold in small plastic bags or containers of dried plant material. The substance is most commonly rolled and smoked similar to a cigarette or burned in a small bowl and inhaled. The product’s packaging normally includes instructions for use that specifically state the product is “not for human consumption.”
Synthetic cannabinoid products are similar in appearance to marijuana in that it is composed of a green and brown leafy matter. The active ingredients in these products are manufactured to mimic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. Synthetic cannabinoid products can be much more potent than marijuana and can cause dangerous health effects.
According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), synthetic cannabinoid products have been found to cause anxiety, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts to some users. Locally, there have been cases of people being treated in the emergency room for synthetic cannabinoid use.
Synthetic stimulants marked as “bath salts” contain chemicals that are synthetic derivatives of cathinone. Cathinone is an active chemical naturally found in the Khat plant and is a central nervous system stimulant. Some of the most common designer cathinones found in “bath salts” are Mephedrone, Methylone, and 3-4 methylenedioxypyroverone (MDPV).
Synthetic stimulants that contain these chemicals have a similar effect as amphetamines and cocaine. The “bath salt” crystals resemble legal bathing products like Epsom salts. These drugs are disguised as household products under a variety of names and, as with synthetic cannabinoids, are labeled “not for human consumption.” These “bath salts” are given names like “Ivory Wave”, “Purple Wave”, “Vanilla Sky”, “Meow Meow”, and “White Dove”.
According to the US DEA, the chemicals that are in bath salts have been known to raise an individual’s body temperature, which explains why some users have been found missing clothes and disoriented. Often when confronted by law enforcement, people who are under the influence of “bath salts” can become very agitated and aggressive.
People using these synthetic drugs can be unpredictable in their behavior and some may present significant safety risks. If you encounter someone exhibiting any of the symptoms/behaviors described above, contact law enforcement immediately. Parents, if you find your child in possession of any of the products described above, or something similar, take it away immediately and have a serious talk regarding the dangers of use. Inyo County residents with questions regarding synthetic drugs are encouraged to contact local law enforcement.
For more information on synthetic drugs please visit the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/synthetic-drugs-k2-spice-bath-salts.