CAMP VERDE — Late Monday, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Michael Bluff extended the ban on the Yavapai County sale of “novelty powders” and other synthetics called “spice” and “bath salts” by known retailers.
In a 14-page ruling, Judge Bluff affirmed a permanent injunction against nine of the 12 retail shops named in the complaint filed by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk. The judge further issued a preliminary injunction against the remaining three known retailers: Wes Lance Trading Company, Steve Ogden and the Island Store.
Retailers in Prescott that have been banned from selling the novelty powders are Prescott Quick Stop, Mike’s Mini Mart, and The Island Store. Shops in Cottonwood banned from the sale of these drugs are Hawaiian Honey Swimwear and Pipe Dreamz Smoke Shop. Shops in Prescott Valley that are banned are X-Hale Smoke Shop, Mario’s PV Quick Stop, the Hobby Glass, Smoke N’ Thingz, Mike’s Connection and Texaco on Highway 69. Wes Lance Trading Company in Camp Verde has also been banned.
“What is so important is that parents and their children, as well as all community members, understand how dangerous and life-threatening these synthetic drugs are,” said Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk. “I knew this stuff was horrible when we started the trial, yet I was still overwhelmed with the testimony recounting the violence and self-destruction, and how these drugs are effecting everyone across the county.”
This ruling comes after three days of Superior Court testimony in late August. Among his findings, Judge Bluff wrote that novelty powder drugs are synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones that have effects similar to marijuana and methamphetamine, but more intense, unpredictable, dangerous and addictive. The judge further found that the novelty powders are packaged to mimic the appearance and names of recreational illegal drugs, and despite the warnings on the packages that they are “not for human consumption,” they are sold solely for human consumption.
The street names include: Go Fast, K2, Spice, Sprinklezz, Incense, Potpourri, Herbal Sachets, Glass Cleaner, Felt Cleaner, Go Fast Carpet Cleaner, Exuberance Powder, Tickle Talc, Bath Salts, Smokin’ Dragon, Mr. Nice Guy, Fear and Loathing, Diablo, Amped, G6, Eight Ballz, White Lightening, Crazy Train, Hashish 6X, Token Monkey, Black Gold 20X, Legal Devil, Funky Green Stuff, and Bliss.
In issuing the injunctions, the judge found that evidence at the hearing showed that the novelty powders cause serious physical and mental harm to the users, including dangerous increases in metabolic rates resulting in dangerous hyperthermia (overheating), increased heart rate, stroke, cardiovascular collapse, seizures, and death.
The judge found that users often suffer from delusions and hallucinations, exhibiting signs of severe psychosis, paranoia and anxiety, and that users will often suffer long-term effects from the drugs such as psychosis, depression, insomnia, suicide ideation and self-mutilation.
The judge observed that users under the influence of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones will often engage in aggressive acts of violence against medical and law enforcement personnel trying to assist them, and innocent bystanders; and that synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones may be even more addictive than marijuana or methamphetamine.
The judge found that the evidence from the hearing shows that novelty powders are having a serious and negative impact on emergency medical services in Yavapai County and that the emergency medical professionals of the community report a dramatic increase over the last eighteen months in patients needing emergency medical treatment.
Among his findings, the judge noted: the evidence shows that the patients are often physically injured due to acts of self-harm, and that they are violently combative; that as many as 20 patients a week are presenting at Yavapai County’s three emergency rooms for treatment due to ingestion; that patients under the influence of novelty powders are violently combative, “out of their minds,” and that violent attacks on paramedics, doctors and nurses are common with such patients; that it is frequently necessary for hospital personnel to physically restrain, sedate, and intubate patients in order to treat the patient and eliminate danger to hospital personnel; and that these patients represent a serious drain of hospital and community resources available for medical emergencies.
The judge found there is a strong likelihood Yavapai County will prevail on the merits, and ruled that the sale of novelty powders presents a likelihood of irreparable injury to the people of Yavapai County. The judge declared that public policy favors the ban.
A copy of the Preliminary and Permanent Injunctions, as well as all the pleadings and affidavits, can be found at the Yavapai County Attorney’s website at http://www.yavapai.us/coatty/press-releases/court-pleadings-bath-salt-ban/.
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office asks that community members with information about anyone selling synthetic drugs in Yavapai County contact the office at (928) 771-3344 and ask to speak with Maggie.