FDLE Trying to Close Synthetic Drug Loophole

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL -- June 13, 2012 --

The state's top law enforcers are trying to close a loophole that's keeping synthetic drugs like K2 and bath salts out in stores.

Florida lawmakers have passed a tough new ban, but police officer Dave Northway gripes synthetic drug makers are finding ways around it.

“We can only do what the law allows us to do. If it says just these substances, they're the only ones that we can enforce,” he said. “If the people who are making these come out with something new that gets around that, we have no way to stop that.”

Synthetic drug companies based mainly in Europe and Asia are changing the chemical makeup of the drugs' main ingredient, called a 'base compound'. When they're done, the drug is every bit as potent but it's no longer illegal.

The loophole's become a big impediment to law enforcement efforts to crack down on synthetic drugs.

But, tightening it could become a big impediment to your health. Many of the base compounds are used in everyday, legal pharmaceuticals.

With lawmakers already talking about banning more base compounds, it's up to Dave Gross at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to figure out the potential impact. He says only a sliver of all the compounds out there are actually used in common drugs, and the goal now is to come up with that list.

“What we do is, we ensure through intelligence, talking to other states, talking to other countries, that the use for the substances that we're going to ban has no other purpose than an illegal purpose,” said Gross.

But, that may give the synthetic drug companies just enough leeway to find a new way around the law, slowing but not stopping a troubling epidemic.

The legislature passed a ban on the mis-marketed bath salts last year. Earlier this year, lawmakers passed another ban on more than 90 chemicals mostly used in producing synthetic marijuana.


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  • by Anonymous on Jun 14, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    Male sperm and females who smoke marijuana during pregnancy can cause "holes in the heart" of the fetus. http://adai.washington.edu/marijuana/factsheets/reproduction.htm......do you really want children with problems; at ages three to four years, children of mothers who used marijuana while pregnant have poorer verbal, memory and reasoning ability; poorer motor skills and shorter length of play; and are more likely to be fearful, impulsive, inattentive, hyperactive and delinquent. Yeah, decriminalize marijuana - the government would like that. That may be the October surprise Obama is going to spring on us.
    • reply
      by wrong on Jun 14, 2012 at 09:00 AM in reply to Anonymous
      a pregnant mother cannot drink booze but alcohol is still legal. Bottom line, if a mom is going to smoke pot while pregnant she will do so whether pot is legal or not... same reasoning if a mother chooses to drink alcohol while pregnant. By the way, it's not the marijuana that causes "holes in the heart," that is a complete and utter lie.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM in reply to Anonymous
      You must make some sort of profit from drugs being illegal, or simply be that naive. Are you employed in the prison industrial complex?
  • by Jake on Jun 14, 2012 at 06:26 AM
    Raid the Raheem stores and lock up the owner for 20 years. That will stop the legal sale fast.
  • by LegalWatcher Location: TLH on Jun 14, 2012 at 05:34 AM
    The legislators always make these things more complicated than they need to be. Just use language such as "the manufacture of synthetic substances designed to mimic or create intoxication similar to Schedule I and II drugs not approved by the FDA for human use".
  • by thinkaboutit Location: havana on Jun 14, 2012 at 04:55 AM
    Decriminalize the real pot and the need for the synthetic pot will diminish!
  • by Citizen on Jun 14, 2012 at 04:36 AM
    "...officer Dave Northway gripes..."... shame on Troy Kinsey for using this terminology. You make it sound as if he's whining about trying to ensure a dangerous substance is not available for abuse. There are so many better choices of words here!
    • reply
      by wahhhhhhhhhhh on Jun 14, 2012 at 08:55 AM in reply to Citizen
      stop your griping! besides, prohibition on drugs has been an utter failure much like the prohibition era against alcohol. That is, prohibition supports gangs, violence, inflates the profits for bad folks, and it's a waste of tax dollars to enforce said laws.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM
    Education is the key. Start with the lower grades, and work up. Educate, educate, educate. Do it in the schools, in the daycare, on the TV, on billboards. Instead of putting Gov Scott's name on things, educate the public as to what it can do. It cooks from the inside out. Put the picture of Mr. Poppo's face up on a billboard. Show what bath salts can do. Synthetic drugs are deadly. They get you killed or they will kill you in the end.
    • reply
      by Nelson on Jun 15, 2012 at 04:34 AM in reply to Anonymous
      The problem is that not all of the synthetic drugs are the same thing. Some of them are harmful and some are not. Each substance should be evaluated on it's own merrit. Science, not fear, should be the deciding factor here. When substances get banned outright, any research into legitimate uses is effectively banned as well. We need to be sure we aren't banning something that could be used save lives when used properly.
  • by Tally Location: Tally on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:31 PM
    I agree with banning these every bit, but here's the stickler... Every time a law is created to prohibit a substance, there is a new opening for organized crime to prevent full prohibition. In the case of these 'legal weeds', there's a quite simple solution. Decriminalization of Marijuana. Simply write something up to tax it and set up fees for grower licenses. Not only would prisons feel the financial relief, but so would the state as a whole, or even the country for that matter. Decriminalization would eliminate any need for these more harmful products to exist period. As for bath salts, outright make anything but epsom salts illegal and it's taken care of. Simple enough it seems, but no. It won't happen, because phamecutecal companies and paper companies have too much to lose with decriminalization and it's far too easy for the government to stop wasting trillions of dollars between prisons and the war on marijuana... Some of America's founding fathers grew it even as a cash crop.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 14, 2012 at 07:57 AM in reply to Tally
      That's the answer to everything isn't it. Decriminalize pot. Well, then people will want cocaine, opium, and harder drugs. The answer is not to decriminalize pot. Have you ever been to India?
      • reply
        by Nelson on Jun 15, 2012 at 04:37 AM in reply to Anonymous
        That is not true. There is no reason to think that people only want to smoke weed because it is illegal. Those that are smoking weed now aren't going to switch to blow when weeds is legal. That's just silly!
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