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The war against synthetic drugs

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 22 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 22 2012 10:32:29 PM CDT

The war against synthetic drugs

A war is being waged on synthetic drugs.

Experts warn that these substances, which mimic marijuana and other street drugs, are unstable, dangerous and can kill.

Concerns are reported to be so high that the Council on Chemical Abuse held a seminar at Alvernia University Thursday night to educate the public on how to combat the issue, officials said.

Speakers at the seminar explained that many of the synthetic drugs are marketed to teenagers.

"I think a lot of youth believe if it's available, like on an over-the-counter basis, or at variety stores, that it's safe, and it's not," said George Vogel, Executive Director of the Council on Chemical Abuse.

Some of the synthetic marijuana products have names like K2, White Magic, My Monster and Green Grass.

The label reads: Not For Human Consumption.

Several teens have already suffered strokes and heart attacks as a result of the drug, said officials.

In February Nirvana's Closet in Reading, and six businesses across the region were raided, and officials said they confiscated $500,000 synthetic marijuana.

"It's important to get this information out, because a lot of parents may be naive to the dangers of these chemicals," said Vogel.

The synthetic chemical JWH-018 is being constantly manipulated by manufacturers in order to fly under the radar of authorities, investigators said.

The molecular structure of the drugs has also been tampered with so the substances will not show up in lab tests for patients being screened for illegal drug use.

"The main goal is public awareness. We need to educate the public about synthetic drugs and the problems that they cause," said John Adams, Berks County District Attorney.

A professional training session on how to deal with synthetic drugs will be held Friday at the Berks County Services Center in downtown Reading starting at 9:00 a.m.