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CHRISTIAN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
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301 W. FRANKLIN STREET P. O. BOX 678 • TAYLORVILLE, IL 62568
BRUCE KETTELKAMP PHONE (217) 824-4961 (C) 217-820-0758
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July 12, 2013
FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL 3, Nr. 6
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
NEW SYNTHETIC DRUG THREATS
In my May issue of this newsletter, we detailed the risks and dangers posed by new age designer drugs. They are increasingly popular. They have a slightly different chemical structure from similar drugs which were outlawed last year. As a result, they may appear in retail stores as “bath salts,” “plant food,” or “research chemicals.”
Every day they have become more available. The Poison Control Centers in the United States are receiving calls about cases of poisoning from these drugs. Actually they are all drugs of abuse. They are sold as crystals, powders, and liquids with a variety of names such as Spice, K2, Moon Rocks, Bliss, Rave, and Cloud 9.
They are generally sold in drug paraphernalia shops, smoke shops, convenience stores, or gas stations. Most of them are usually labeled “unfit for human consumption” or “for cleaning purposes.”
Emergency rooms have reported that over 11,000 visits caused by these drugs have occurred nationwide. And worst of all, 75% of these visits were from people ranging in age from 12 to 29.
Contributing to the problem is the fact that potential users consider them to actually be safe to use. They’re thought to be legal items that produce a non-threatening high. Since they are “natural” they don’t pose any risk. Their appeal is also heightened by the belief that these drugs are not easily detected in standard drug tests.
The impact of these synthetics was downright frightening. There seemed little likelihood that the usage could be dramatically reduced. Judging by the times required to control or eliminate similar products in the past, the inevitable impact would be out of control for years.
BUT NOW IT’S THE DEA TO THE RESCUE.
And what a job they did! The DEA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, in the past few days made an amazing announcement, detailing the results of the largest-ever global synthetic drug takedown campaign. The DEA and their law enforcement partners announced enforcement campaigns in 35 states which targeted the upper echelon of dangerous designer synthetic drug trafficking organizations.
Their enforcement actions included retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. What’s more, the investigations uncovered a massive flow of drug-related proceeds back to countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.
This program, Project Synergy, just began December 1, 2012, and more than 227 arrests were made together with 416 search warrants served in 35 states, 49 cities, and five countries.
Over $51 million in cash and assets were seized. Also taken were:
* 9,445 kilograms of individually packaged, ready-to-sell, synthetic drugs
*299 kilograms of cathinone drugs (labeled as “bath salts”)
*1,252 kilograms of cannabin drugs (used to make the so-called “fake pot” or herbal incense products)
*783 kilograms of treated plant material
DEA’s Special Operations Division, working with the DEA office of Diverson control, played important roles. Included were cases led by DEA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, and IRS.
Also included in the task force were law enforcement agencies in Australia, Barbados, Panama, and Canada together with a very large number of state and local law enforcement organizations.
Many had wondered how it could be possible to limit the growth of synthetic drugs, since they have been engineered to insure they are not specifically listed in the Controlled Substances Act. But it seems that the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act provides for such treatment if they are proven to be chemically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II Controlled substance.
Meanwhile, any parents who fear that their children may be attracted to such items should visit www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com, which is a DEA website for parents.
Its pages contain many informative articles and explanations about many aspects of the drug problems and how to deal with them. These include several excellent booklets that can be downloaded.
It’s worth checking it out. For example, a drug commonly called Molly is steadily becoming a major problem at music festivals. It is billed as pure MDMA, the prime ingredient in Ecstasy. It sells for $10 to $25 per capsule.
The drug got a lot of exposure when Madonna, appearing at last year’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami, said to the predominantly young audience “Have any of you have seen Molly?” The question brought cheers from most of the more that 100,000 people attending. After all, Molly was their secret.
But it’s not a secret to the DEA’S Get Smart About Drugs site. The site, labeled by the DEA as a “DEA Resource for Parents” features an article on the site headlined “New Dangers of Mixing Marijuana and Molly.” It contains links to additional explanations. If a parent reading it should wonder if treatment is called for, there are several references to websites which can explain the problem and provide help.
This DEA website can be instrumental in helping families deal with these potentially disastrous situations, should they occur.
We all owe the DEA a very large “Thank You.”
Department Activity for the last 5 months: