City Council passes ordinance banning synthetic marijuana


The Lubbock City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale, use and possession of synthetic marijuana at its meeting Thursday.
Synthetic marijuana also is referred to as incense, K-2, legal, spice, spongebud and scooby snax.
There will be a second reading and vote on the same ordinance at the Council meeting Feb. 14, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson said.
After the second reading, the ordinance will go into effect in 30 days if approved, she said.
“It’s a good first step,” Gibson said.
Gibson, Councilman for District 1 Victor Hernandez and Councilman for District 3 Todd Klein worked with the city’s legal department to come up with the ordinance, said Gina Johnson, a non-traditional freshman secondary education major at Lubbock Christian University.
Johnson said there were probably a dozen people at the meeting in support of the ordinance.
“It’s a poison,” Johnson said. “It has got to be removed from our community. It kills people without warning. It isn’t like most of the other illegal drugs because of the fact that one use could do you in.”
At the meeting, Johnson read a poem by an unknown author titled “My Name is ‘Meth.’”
Johnson said she chose to read the poem to let the public know synthetic marijuana is just like every drug, and that it acts like crystal meth.
Michael Phillips, a Lubbock resident, said he has not used synthetic marijuana himself, but he has used mind-altering products including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. He also has a relative who uses synthetic marijuana daily.
“To me he’s acting the same way I would with methamphetamine,” Phillips said. “It’s changing the chemistry.”
His relative’s actions, he said, can be compared to the way the “That 70s Show” characters acted when they would meet in a circle.
Phillips said he was concerned with the lack of ingredient labels on the product, the side effects of using the product and its availability to children.
“They could do a city ban, start there,” he said. “That’s the only thing the Council really can do right now is do it, and then we start education.”
Councilman for District 2 Floyd Price said the ban on synthetic marijuana is just the beginning of what should be done, and he credits Johnson with getting him back on track in reference to drug protection.
Councilwoman for District 6 Latrelle Joy said she spoke on the phone 30 minutes before the meeting with someone whose brother-in-law used synthetic marijuana and is dead.
“The images that he saw when he used this substance,” she said, “those images were so horrible that he’d do anything to get them to go away so he shot himself.”
Floyd, Gibson, Klein and Joy each spoke before the vote was taken, and all were in agreement about educating the public because the ordinance alone was not going to solve the problem.
After the ordinance is passed, Gibson said she is looking for labeling on the packages, anything against resale and education about the substances.
She said communities surrounding Lubbock were watching for the Council’s decision because they knew once the ordinance was passed in Lubbock, other communities may begin to follow suit.
Johnson said she would be in attendance at the second reading.
“This is a minor battle,” she said. “The war is far from won, but it’s a step that had to be taken.”
It is important, she said, for people to call 911 immediately if they experience any symptoms after using synthetic marijuana.

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Daytona Beach ready to outlaw synthetic pot


Daytona Beach is poised to become the first Volusia County municipality to crack down on synthetic marijuana and stimulants masquerading as potpourri, bath salts, incense and even treats for kids.

At their meeting Wednesday night, city commissioners will take a final vote on a measure that would make it illegal for anyone in Daytona Beach to sell, distribute or display the synthetic drugs that are usually labeled as bath salts or herbal incense.

With state and federal laws not yet making some of the substances in the products illegal, the measure would make it a code violation to have the synthetic drug cocktails in Daytona Beach businesses and to try to sell them in the city.

Supporters of the crackdown hope the future brings new measures that will make it a crime punishable by more than a maximum $500 fine to peddle the products that can mimic the highs of pot, methamphetamine and cocaine.

“It’s a good first step,” said Mayor Glenn Ritchey. “I’d like to see more teeth in it.”

Ritchey said the city and entire state need to stay a step ahead of synthetic drugs, with synthetic heroin already in other countries and probably headed to the United States.

“I think it’s only the beginning with bath salts and we need to be very cognizant in the future how we’ll address this,” Ritchey said. “This is really only the tip of the iceberg. (Drug dealers) will look for loopholes, so we need to look for ways to close all the loopholes.”

Holly Hill and Daytona Beach Shores are slated to take final votes next week on similar measures banning synthetic drugs not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Ormond Beach will take an initial vote Wednesday on a synthetic drug measure, and other local cities including Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater are moving toward votes, too, said Mary Swiderski, executive director of the Volusia Council of Governments.

DeLand also is looking into the issue, Swiderski said. In Flagler County, Palm Coast and Bunnell have already outlawed synthetic drugs.

VCOG has been pushing area cities to ban the synthetic drugs until VCOG and other organizations can lobby the Legislature next year to pass an aggressive, comprehensive law that would wage war on unregulated synthetic drugs in Florida. The state has already declared 42 substances illegal, but drug dealers can tweak their compounds and add substances that haven’t been declared illegal yet, Swiderski said.

Users of the drugs are ingesting things such as nail polish remover, said Swiderski, who’s particularly passionate about the issue because both of her adult children have battled addictions.

“We could end up with a lost generation,” she said.

Daytona Beach’s measure contains language that attempts to be more sweeping to get ahead of illicit drug manufacturers, said City Attorney Marie Hartman.

Daytona Beach’s ordinance focuses on bath salts and herbal incense. If commissioners adopt the ordinance, the city won’t be going after drugs and substances approved by the FDA and available with a valid prescription.

Daytona Beach’s code enforcement officers also won’t be hunting for bath salts that don’t contain synthetic chemical stimulants, according to city records.

City officials will be looking for ingredients and packaging that indicates or suggests that the substances mimic the effects of marijuana or stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.

The bath salts can be sold as crystals, powder, liquid, tablets or capsules. Herbal incense can be sold in leaves, powder or granular form.

A person or business cited for a code violation involving one of the substances could face a civil penalty of $250 on an initial violation. If they contest the citation, they could wind up with penalties of up to $500 for each violation.

City Commissioner Edith Shelley, who urged fellow commissioners to consider a synthetic drug ordinance, said she’s particularly appalled by the products being sold in colorful packets with pictures of cartoon characters such as Scooby-Doo.

The products are often sold in convenience stores and tobacco shops, Shelley and other local officials said, giving kids and young adults easy access. And many of the substances aren’t caught in drug tests, Swiderski and others said.

Synthetic drugs have picked up in popularity over the past year, but Ritchey said “it’s not exploding in our area. It’s sort of stabilized.”

Shelley said the danger of the drugs became even more apparent to her when she met a local man who told her his teenage son nearly died after ingesting what the father believes was synthetic cocaine.

“The man walked in and the son was unconscious,” said Shelley, who noted the child was about 13 or 14. “When you meet someone who goes through something like that you realize we need to do everything we can to try to prevent this.”

Ban On Sale Of Synthetic Drug spice


A 17-year-old urges people not to smoke it.

Calls for a ban on the sale of synthetic drugs known as “spice” is a good idea, according to one downtown Frederick merchant. Mary Jean Clark, is the owner of a tea shop along North Market Street called “Viola.” She says has seen large numbers of people come up to “Classic Cigars and British Goodies” to purchase this stuff. “Cars from all the surrounding states will be pulling up,” she says. “It’s like a quick drive-in window type of thing, where they park illegally, run into the store, buy it and run out. The cars are full. Sometimes there are babies in the backs of these cars. It’s just tragic what you see going on.”

“Classic Cigars and British Goodies” sells this material as potpourri, but its sale is limited to persons 18 and older. “However, if you stand in the middle of my store, which is two doors down, you watch transactions go down. You watch younger kids paying older kids to go in. It looks like drug deals,” Clark says.

She also says she’s seen kids using it, and then getting violently ill. “Well, they’re vomiting on the streets. They’re going into seizures,” she says.

As a result of this activity, Clark says she’s looking at her options, and may move out of the downtown.

Richard, a 17-year-old who did not want to give his last name, had a bad experience smoking “spice.” In March, 2011, he, his younger brother and a cousin tried this product, and he says they almost died. “All of three of us were sitting there on the couch. My little brother is puking. Our hearts are beating so fast we can see them, and it feels like they’re about to jump out of our throats. We thought we were about the die, literally,” he says. Richard also says all three of them were hallucinating.

Richard says he called Poison Control. “I wanted to see if we could sober up before she {his mother} got home,” he says. But, he says, Poison Control told him to call 911 before he went into cardiac arrest or had a heart attack.

Richard says it took a while for the affects of “spice” to wear off.

Clark says she’s heard similar stories from parents about their children using “spice,” especially at a recent community meeting with the Frederick Police Department. “One parent was struggling. Their child had been in trouble had been on probation, and said,you know, ‘nanny, nanny boo-boo! I’m going to do this!’ It’s legal, and they can’t test it in drug testing. Their kids are having adverse reactions, behavioral issues now,” she says.

Richard, who has not smoked “spice” since that day he had a bad reaction, says the product is available among high school students. “It’s pretty prevalent now. You’ll see it a lot with a lot of people that usually they can’t find real marijuana, and they don’t have anything else. So, this stuff seems so much easier to get,” he says.

Richard also talks to young people, urging them not to try “spice.” “Just take it for me. It can affect you negatively, and it can kill you,” he says.

The Town of Thurmont is considering an ordinance to ban the sale of this stuff, and some parents in Frederick want city officials to do the same. While some people may say that drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes kill more people than “spice,” Clark doesn’t agree with that comparison. “Alcohol and tobacco are long term use affects. They are addictive substances. They’re regulated; they’re heavily taxed. This product is not heavily taxed,” she says.

Clark says she would like to see this product banned, or heavily taxed and regulated.

Read more: http://www.wfmd.com/pages/localnews2.html?feed=119935&article=10485879#ixzz29hKiqt1d

Rip Off Report – What you need to know before you buy online


Herbal Incense Market Daniel Borer, herbalincensemarket.com SCAM. RIPOFF.LIAR. DONT BELIEVE ANYTHING HE SAYS. Internet

I had tried to order a product from them and it didn’t go through. So, I left an email to let them know that my payment wouldn’t process. Daniel Borer contacted me by email and said their credit card machine was down because they were redesigning the website. he offered to take my order by phone. He suggested I use a MoneyPak. so I did. He promised he would call back in the morning with a tracking number. since then, he wont answer either phone number, texts, or email

Source: http://www.ripoffreport.com/herbal-incense-marke/smoke-shops/internet-internet-18BDA.htm

Troubleshooter: Cops can’t stop store from selling spice


CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) – A dangerous drug is being sold right out in the open right in the heart of Kentuckiana. The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department went undercover to expose how one local business is getting away with it and why police have not been able to stop it.

Business is booming at one of southern Indiana’s hottest new locations, but no one wants to talk about what is on the menu.

Police said what they are buying inside Monroe’s in Clarksville is synthetic marijuana. Its street name is spice. Spice is a shredded, dried plant sprayed with chemicals that produces a mind altering high.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse said people who smoke spice often feel psychotic effects. The effects include extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations that have been linked to illness and death.

Spice is illegal in Indiana, but Troubleshooter Eric Flack discovered it is being sold right out in the open at Monroe’s. Hidden camera video caught a seemingly revolving door as streams of customers come and go. Parents and professionals. Young and old.

“I’ve seen it busier than Kroger right next door,” said Cpl. Tony Lehman of the Clarksville Police Department.

A WAVE 3 Troubleshooter producer went in undercover with a hidden camera to get a look at what was going on inside. The video shows there is nothing in the store but a pool table, a coke machine, a display case of glass pipes, and a man behind a counter who chose his words carefully.

“What you trying to get?” the man asked our undercover producer. She told him she was looking for spice.

“We don’t sell spice baby,” he said. “We got some incense.”

Although he referred to what he was selling as incense, his intent seemed clear when we asked him about the range of prices.

“Depends on how strong you want your incense,” the man told our undercover producer.

The undercover producer ended up buying something called Triple-X. It cost about $10 and was labeled “not for human consumption”, but it looked exactly like the synthetic marijuana linked to all those dangerous side effects.

The guy who gave our producer the Triple-X would not come out and talk to Troubleshooter Eric Flack when he returned to Monroe’s to get an explanation about what they were selling.

“Cut that (expletive) camera off man,” he said.

The Clarksville Police Department has been investigating the store for months but thus far have been unable to make any arrests.

“It’s extremely frustrating,” Cpl. Lehman said. “It’s just horrible for the community, it’s horrible for the kids and people who smoke this stuff, and its so frustrating that we can’t do anything about it.”

The Troubleshooter Department discovered the reason police can not do anything about it. Technology used by Indiana State Police can not keep up with the problem.

State Representative Milo Smith, who wrote Indiana’s spice law, said ISP’s lab equipment is not advanced enough to identify the newer, altered compounds of synthetic marijuana, which can be just a few molecules different from the original. Police said they can not press charges until tests confirm the presence of those banned chemical compounds.

Representative Smith said state police have not given up. He said ISP is now searching for private labs with equipment capable of proving what is being sold at Monroe’s is illegal so they can stop it from being sold on the open market.

In the midst of the Troubleshooter investigation, Monroe’s was the scene of a violent confrontation with a man who allegedly tried to break into the store and steal the synthetic marijuana.

Kevin Martin is now facing a list of charges that includes resisting arrest and burglary after he fought with officers who caught him trying to rob Monroe’s. Witnesses saw Martin throw a rock through the front door and called police. When officers arrived they said Martin fought with them and tried to escape before he was finally handcuffed and taken into custody.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office is aware of growing spice problem in the area and is trying to step up enforcement and is threatening to seize the assets of businesses caught selling spice if they don not sign an affidavit to stop.

Attention All Readers – You Must Know


All yellow Porsche 997 Turbo

First i would like to thank each and every reader that has made our blog one of the largest if not the largest for herbal incense and bath salt reviews and news. I have had so many emails these past 2 months asking me if you can buy herbal incense products from me. I just dont have time to email every request back that i get and i never want a reader to think that we are not interacting with you.

Here is the facts, we do not in any way shape or form sell herbal incense products. We are simply a resource for information in the herbal incense spice world. We enjoy giving readers information about the herbal incense spice busts and the incense industy reviews on herbal products. I know that the DEA and law enforcement has cracked down hard on several business across the USA over the past 2 months and now herbal incense is much harder to find.

I know this because everyday i get all the news and busts from our large database of resources and news streams. But i want to make it very clear we are only a resource for learning everything there is to know about herbal incense and news. We do not sell, stock, or tell clients where to buy herbal products or bath salts. If a client sends us a sample of there herbal incense products and its a legal product, we will review that product and write a post to edcuate the public on what we feel about that product. Keep in mind everyone has a different opion about herbal products and everything in life.

Here is an example, i have a freind of mine that bought a brand new porsche and its an amazing car. But that car is bright yellow and to me its screams UGLY. Now everyone else might just love yellow porsches, but i cant stand yellow cars. Now if i was to write a review about that bright yellow car i would say what a nice ride but bad choice in the cars color. Lets say i posted a pic it here

Now how many of you think this yellow porsche 997 turbo is amazing? Well when i look at it i just see a yellow BEE.

So my point is that everyone does not agree on everything. Many times when i post about a herbal incense i have tried i do my best to insure that i let people know just how strong there herbal spice is. Well to me – a daily smoker, its not as strong as someone that might only smoke once a month. Thats why i do my best to be honest so that my readers know what there getting before they get it. But thats only my opion. If i here of any great websites selling wholesale herbal incense i will make a post and update you and try to do a mass email on all the requests that i get for it.

But honstly i dont like to tell people where to buy any products, just give you a review of what i tried what my personal opion is of that product and where i got it from.
Hope this helps and as always thanks for all the support from our readers. It really is awesome. We have over 300,000 visits per week and thats truly amazing!

Synthetic Drug Ring In Allentown Busted By DEA


Thats right 15 people were arrested in bust of alleged synthetic drugs operation run from Allentown warehouse.
NORRISTOWN, Montgomery County — The inventory in an old east Allentown warehouse was a drug user’s paradise: rows and rows of colorful glass smoking bongs, boxes holding thousands of grinders and scales, hundreds of rolling papers and about $200,000.

For store owners in the region looking to score chemically enhanced drugs like bath salts and synthetic marijuana, not to mention the goods needed to smoke them, J&L Wholesale Distributors at 1006 Hanover Ave. was the place to go, authorities say.

J&L’s lucrative enterprise, housed in a nondescript building near a day care center and in a school zone, kicked into high gear when synthetic drugs were declared illegal in Pennsylvania a year ago, authorities said.

But that came crashing down Thursday for J&L owner Kenneth Grossman when police rounded up him and 14 others, mostly from the Lehigh Valley. Authorities said they say helped push a relatively cheap high on drug users from the Lehigh Valley to New Jersey.

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All were charged with participating in a corrupt organization and profiting from the proceeds of illegal activity, both first-degree felonies, and related drug offenses.

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said during a news conference with Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin that the elaborate drug sting, known as “Operation Bowls, Bongs and Beyond,” put a dent in the drug trade in both counties, yielded synthetic marijuana, two tractor-trailers filled with paraphernalia, plus several guns.

Police also seized more than $900,000, including money from the warehouse and several bank accounts, and dozens of common items such as soda cans, sugar containers and clocks that were hollowed out to create secret compartments used to hide drugs.

Grossman, 52, of 820 E. Chew St., Allentown also was part of a partnership that ran Insense Specialties, which supplied the illegal drugs, mainly synthetic marijuana and bath salts, authorities said. The others in the partnership were: Jason Grossman, 24, of 1847 Cloverdale Road, Bethlehem; Rajwant Thind, 30, of 6498 Overlook Road, Orefield; and Malwinder Mangat, 26, of 1016 Hilltop Court, Leesport.

Martin said the arrests show authorities are making good on their pledge last year to crack down on store owners selling the drugs that became illegal in August 2011 and their suppliers.

“Hopefully, they will get the message that we will prosecute,” Martin said.

Known as designer drugs, the substances are made from natural herbs and synthetic chemicals to mirror the effects of drugs like marijuana. But the drugs have been known to cause erratic and violent behavior in those who take them. Police say people high on the synthetic drugs have unusual strength and tolerance to pain.

Ferman said she was particularly disturbed that the drugs were targeted at youngsters, with packaging labeled “Scooby Snax” and with the Batman emblem. She pointed out an incident in June 30 during which a 20-year-old man from Upper Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County, involved in a vehicle crash told medics that he was hallucinating after smoking a substance called “K-2” and took his hands off the wheel “to see what happened.”

“This is a huge, profitable business and these people are in it for the money,” Ferman said. “This is a community [in Allentown] where children are in the neighborhood. These are toxic, dangerous substances.”

Ferman said J&L became the prime target of the probe involving multiple police departments after investigators realized that items seized in store busts all led back to the warehouse. Among the stores that allegedly distributed the drugs and paraphernalia: Deli Mart, South Whitehall Township; Trexler Plaza Sunoco in Upper Macungie Township; the EZ Shoppe in East Greenville; Main Street Market in Schwenksville; and U.S. Gas in Upper Frederick Township.

Detective Joseph P. Kelly Jr. of Souderton police, who helped head the investigation, said Grossman even took his show on the road to branch out, bringing samples to an October 2011 “head shop” convention in Atlantic City, N.J.,

Police went as far as setting up a fake business in Souderton to order items from J&L, and used multiple informants to pin down all of the players.

Thind, identified in court records as manager of the Trexler Plaza Sunoco at 5917 Tilghman St., Upper Macungie, told police that Kenneth Grossman took a majority of the synthetic drug product orders and that Thind and Mangat filled the orders and sent the products to customers.

The others charged were employees of Grossman’s company or store owners who bought items from J&L and resold them.

They include: Kunal G. Patel, 42, of 377 Indigo Way, Upper Macungie; Jaymin G. Patel, 45, of 457 Wild Mint Lane, Upper Macungie; Dean A. Fenstermaker Jr., 29, of 4272 Windsor Drive, Upper Macungie; Jeffrey Robertson Jr., 25, of 10441 Trexler Road, Upper Macungie; Abdulah F. Soonasra, 64, of 1713 Brookstone Drive, Alburtis; Lisa A. Zupa, 35, of 233 Harvard Avenue, Palmerton; Mohammed F. Rahman, 42, of Lansdale; Ibrahim Fayez Saloum, 41, of Schwenksville; Amy N. Velazquez, 30, of Schwenksville; Yashvant M. Patel, 49, of East Greenville; Yogesh Patel, 44, of East Greenville.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting all of the cases.

Bath salts’ popularity points to dangerous trend


The new drug hit Batavia’s youth like the plague.
A piercing artist at Affliction Tattoo shop, Eric Betz, had seen his fair share of stoned, high and tripping substance abusers.
But nothing like the girl he saw in the park next to his house smashing her head into a cement wall.
“Ever see Batman?” he asked. “They act like the Joker: Psychotic. Aggressive. Paranoid.”
The culprit was “bath salts,” the increasingly popular narcotic associated with violent acts and paranoia. Bath salts were sold legally in head shops and corner stores across New York State up until two weeks ago, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a crackdown on synthetic drugs sweeping the nation. The governor unveiled new state Health Department regulations making it illegal to buy or sell these synthetic drugs, with violators facing up to $500 in fines and up to 15 days in jail.
Experts say that while making the drugs illegal may cut down on the number of cases reported, it will likely not annihilate the drug.
“We banned marijuana, cocaine and heroin, but they’re still out there,” said Senior Detective Alan Rozansky, head of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Squad.
The drug isn’t related to regular bath salts used in bathing, which are made of actual salt and added fragrances. But the narcotics were sometimes sold under that label.
The drug is in fact synthesized from various methamphetamine-like chemicals, allowing it to be inhaled, swallowed or injected.
As a new drug, its effects have yet to be fully understood, though research indicates it’s highly addictive.
Its use nationwide spiked in the past year. In 2010, poison control centers reported receiving 304 phone calls related to bath salts. Last year, that number shot up to 6,138, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The powdery substances were previously sold in small packets at head shops or corner stores – and often most accessible over the Internet.
Prices ranged from $25 to $50 for a 50-milligram packet.
Though generically referred to as “bath salts,” they’ve been sold under names such as Ivory Wave, Purple Wave, Red Dove, White Dove, Blue Silk and Zoom. Sometimes they were labeled as plant food.
The bath salts have been manufactured with legal chemicals, allowing distributors to sell them without criminal penalty.
While “bath salts” aren’t methamphetamine or cocaine, experts say they could be more threatening because they were only recently made illegal, and because the community has yet to build up the same fear that surrounds other drugs.
Last year, after several minors showed up at hospitals with bath salt-related symptoms – hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and rapid heart rates – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. authorized search warrants for the drug sellers and several arrests were made, including that of a Williamsville man accused of selling synthetic marijuana from two shops in Tonawanda, where authorities also seized bath salts.
While the drug itself was still legal at the time of the raids, Hochul said the sales were illegal under the Federal Analog Act because the bath salts had the same effect as a regulated drug, such as methamphetamine and that the seller sold the drug for purposes of human consumption.
Authorities said the sellers would tell undercover officers something like, “It gives you a good high.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office filed lawsuits in 12 counties last month, accusing 16 stores of violating state labeling laws, after investigators found head shops selling bath salts, among other synthetic drugs, in packages that failed to list ingredients.
Pavilion International, which operates shops at 3234 Main St. in Buffalo and 4225 Transit Road in Amherst, was among those sued.
While Genesee County had more highly publicized episodes and greater community involvement in protesting the drug’s use, Hochul said a similar number of cases are seen in Buffalo. They are just overshadowed by a wide range of other crimes that get more publicity, he said.
In Batavia, the use of bath salts declined since police shut down the 420 Emporium, a major market for the drug, said Detective Rich Schauf of the Batavia Police Department.
The fact that bath salts are now illegal should also decrease their use, he said.But he is concerned that, because the drug was once legal, people will believe it isn’t harmful and make them curious to try it.
“Up until now, you could walk into the store and buy it,” he said.
Because of the new regulations and educational programs, Schauf said he believes people are starting to understand that the drug was never intended for recreational use and is dangerous.
“It’s a common misconception that ‘legal’ equals ‘safe,’ ” he said. “That’s not the case at all.”
Bath salts have increased the workload at Batavia’s United Memorial Medical Center’s emergency room, according to Chief Medical Officer Michael Merrill.
“At one point, we had patients coming in every day,” he said.
Merrill describes bath salts as “designer drugs meant to be effective,” and particularly dangerous due to their link with violent acts.
The new drug, though, has been especially troubling to Betz, the tattoo shop employee, who said he knows about 15 people who use it.
He and his co-workers have created a Facebook page, Let’s Beat Bath Salts, where people in the area have shared stories of what they’ve witnessed in order to stir their crusade against the drug’s use.
“I’ve watched them destroy their lives, lose their money and their self-respect,” he said.

Rudy Eugene’s Toxicology Report: Experts speculate on what caused ‘face-chewing’ attack


CBS/AP) MIAMI – Experts are still speculating about what may have caused Rudy Eugene’s face-chewing attack on Ronald Poppo in Miami last month. A toxicology report on Wednesday failed to find “bath salts” and other major street drugs in Eugene’s system.

Pictures: Fla. police identify “face-eating” naked man

The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner said in a news release that the toxicology detected marijuana but it didn’t find any other street drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs. Eugene also tested negative for adulterants commonly mixed with street drugs.

An expert on toxicology testing said marijuana alone wasn’t likely to cause behavior as strange as Eugene’s.

“The problem today is that there is an almost an infinite number of chemical substances out there that can trigger unusual behavior,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberger, Professor and Director of Toxicology at the University of Florida.

There has been much speculation about what drugs, if any, would lead to the bizarre May 26 attack at a Miami causeway that left Poppo, 65, missing about 75 percent of his face. The tests ruled out the suggestion that 35-year-old Eugene may have been under the influence of bath salts, which mimic the effects of cocaine or methamphetamine and have been associated with bizarre crimes in recent months.

An outside forensic toxicology lab, which took a second look at the results, also confirmed the absence of bath salts, synthetic marijuana and LSD.

Goldberger said the medical examiner’s office in Miami is known for doing thorough work and he’s confident they and the independent lab covered as much ground as possible. But it’s nearly impossible for toxicology testing to keep pace with new formulations of synthetic drugs.

“There are many of these synthetic drugs that we currently don’t have the methodology to test on, and that is not the fault of the toxicology lab. The challenge today for the toxicology lab is to stay on top of these new chemicals and develop methodologies for them but it’s very difficult and very expensive.” Goldberger said. “There is no one test or combination of tests that can detect every possible substance out there.”

An addiction expert said she wouldn’t rule out marijuana causing the agitation.

“It could have been the strain of marijuana that increases the dopamine in the brain, such as sativa,” said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

There are two strains of marijuana called sativa and indica. The sativa increases dopamine and gives you energy while decreasing pain threshold. Indica is a “sleepy high,” she explained.

“People don’t really know what the amount of either is in each little packet of marijuana,” she explained. “And we can’t differentiate between the two in the blood, much less in a dead person.”

She also suggested that if Eugene had a mental disorder, “the marijuana could have increased even further the dopamine levels and aggravated the situation. So that can’t be ruled out.”

Eugene’s friends and family have said he was religious, not violent and that he didn’t drink or do drugs harder than marijuana, so they are baffled as to what caused Eugene’s brutal assault against the homeless victim.

“There’s no answer for it, not really,” said Marckenson Charles, Eugene’s younger brother. “Anybody who knew him knows this wasn’t the person we knew him to be. Whatever triggered him, there is no answer for this.”

Charles said the family does not plan to pursue any legal action against the police for shooting Eugene on the day of the face-chewing attack. Surveillance video from a nearby building shows Eugene stripping Poppo and pummeling him. The police officer who shot Eugene to death reportedly said Eugene growled at the officer when he told him to stop.

“They used the force they felt was necessary even if we don’t agree with that,” Charles said.

He said Eugene has been buried.

Poppo has undergone several surgeries and remains hospitalized. His left eye was removed, but doctors said earlier this month they were trying to find a way to restore vision in his right eye. He will need more surgeries before he can explore the options for reconstructing his face, doctors have said.

Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Braunstein unveil anti-bath salts bill to toughen penalties


State Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R/C/IP -Rome), supported by Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside),have unveiled new legislation designed to meet the rising use of the drugs with legislation that will help protect the public. The legislation is also supported by Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi (D/WF/IP-Utica), in response to an escalation of bath salts use in his district.

“In 2011, we took a strong role to address the issue of these hallucinogenic drugs being sold in New York, and we passed a good law that Gov. Cuomo signed last July. However, what we are seeing in recent days is a dramatic upsurge in incidents in which the violent, bizarre behavior of individuals who have confronted the police is being linked to their use of these drugs. As such, I am going to be working with my partners in the Senate, Assembly and Governor’s office to pass legislation that will take stronger action, because I believe the response to what we are seeing is to take even stronger measures to protect families and our law enforcement personnel,” Griffo said.

“Between the time we developed last year’s legislation and this summer, we have seen an explosion of synthetic drugs that are causing serious law enforcement, health and mental health problems for communities and families across New York State,” said Braunstein. “Our goal with this new legislation is to respond to the concerns addressed to us by law enforcement and develop a bill that will give them the tools needed to crack down harder in order to end the widespread misuse of these drugs.”

“One of the reasons the use of bath salts has skyrocketed in recent weeks is its easy availability,” said Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi (D/WF/IP-Utica.) “I am joining with Senator Griffo and Assemblyman Braunstein as a sponsor on this legislation, because I believe it will make it much more difficult for store owners to sell these products. When people use these drugs, they often become violent and irrational, and this has become a serious public safety issue. It is important that we get the message across to store owners and individuals that if they sell these products, they can face significant criminal penalties.”

The new bill would classify substituted cathinones (these products, often referred to as “bath salts”, are chemically related to methamphetamines and ecstasy – which are both classified as stimulants) as Schedule I stimulant controlled substances and create a Statewide substituted Cathinone Surrender Program to allow for surrender of these harmful substances to appropriate authorities. Griffo noted that his initial legislation criminalized the sale of “bath salt” products containing Mephedrone and MDPV. Since then, a current practice of making minor alterations to chemicals to subvert statutes that prohibit distinct chemicals made it possible for slightly altered “bath salt” products to continue to be sold in New York State. Braunstein noted that in this new legislation, by adding substituted cathinones to the CSA based on foundational chemical structures, this loophole of chemical alteration would be closed. Not only will this bill provide criminal sanctions, but also makes it a felony to sell such product to a minor or on school grounds

Senator Griffo praised Assemblyman Braunstein, who has sponsored previous bills on bath salts with him, and also Assemblyman Brindisi for his support for laws in response to the dangerous increase in bath salts use.

“There is a can-do spirit in Albany that says when there is a public safety priority to address, we work as partners and we move as fast as we can and we work as hard as we can to get results,” Griffo said. “Assemblyman Braunstein’s efforts will help make New York safer. I appreciate the partnership with Assemblyman Brindisi so that we can move this bill swiftly through both chambers when we return to Albany. Protecting the people knows no party lines.”

“I am proud to work together again with Senator Joseph A. Griffo, to pass this bill, which would strengthen our previous legislation by preventing drug dealers from evading the law by changing the chemical composition of ‘bath salts.’ These dangerous meth-like drugs have caused numerous violent and tragic incidents throughout the country and we must take stronger action against ‘bath salts’ in order to protect the public as well as law enforcement officers,” Assemblyman Braunstein said.

According to UPSTATE Medical University and the Upstate New York Poison Center “bath salts” is a common term used for man-made stimulant (upper) drugs that are similar to “ICE” methamphetamine (or crystal meth). Since they are very similar to other stimulant (upper) drugs like meth (amphetamine), they are very dangerous when used. “Bath salts” can be snorted, smoked, or even put in water and injected using a needle. They come in a variety of different and attractive packaging with enticing names like “Cloud Nine”, “White Lightening.” “Purple Rain”, “Pixie Dust”, and many more. These drugs stimulate the nervous system (brain) and the cardiac system (heart). Severe symptoms may occur including convulsions, seizures, chest pain, excessive sweating, hallucination, anger/violence, suicidal thoughts and action. The use of “bath salts” can cause heart attacks, permanent brain damage and scary hallucinations that can last for days or even weeks. Behavior can result in suicide or the harm to or killing of others. The Upstate New York Poison Center has received 198 cases of reported incidents related to “bath salts” so far in 2012. Central New York has been particularly hard hit, with Oneida County having 36 cases in 2012, as opposed to 8 in 2011; Onondaga County 35 (9 in 2011); Oswego County 17 Cases (10 in 2011); and Madison County having 15 cases (none in 2011).

Griffo said, “These so-called ‘bath salts’ are not the same as aromatic bath salts. They contain a potentially lethal mix of synthetic drugs and serve no purpose other than to get the user high. My legislation sought to ban these dangerous substances so we may help keep our young people safe and give our law enforcement the authority to rid our State of these dangerous drugs. What we are finding since the law took effect is that more action is needed because of the incidents taking place across Central New York.”

Braunstein added: “Dangerous substances are being marketed under many names, but the result is the same – damaging effects to the user and potentially dangerous situations for the police and community. Our new bill will help to stop this epidemic.”