Attorney General Pam Bondi Warns Parents and Kids About Synthetic Drugs
By Pam Bondi, Attorney General // May 11, 2016
Attorney General Pam Bondi warns parents about synthetic drugs and an update on the drug, Flakka.
Below is a release by Bondi:
“Last year, as students were counting the days till summer break, I issued a warning to parents. Flakka, a deadly synthetic drug imported from China, was flooding Florida, leading to some bizarre police reports and in the most unfortunate cases overdose deaths.
Flakka was dubbed “Five Dollar Insanity” because it was inexpensive and caused users to engage in psychotic behavior.
According to reports, one Flakka user impaled himself on a fence outside of a police station after taking the drug.
A Florida teen, reportedly high on Flakka, stripped off her clothes and jumped through a closed window, shattering the window pane and causing severe lacerations.
A Broward Grand Jury report issued in January linked Flakka to 61 deaths in Broward County alone.
While the Flakka craze appears to be on the decline, the threat posed by synthetic drugs remains. Florida law enforcement officers are seeing spikes in the use of synthetic marijuana known as “Spice” in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.
Videos are surfacing online showing Spice users slumped over park benches or sprawled on the ground in chemical-induced stupors.
Because shockingly these substances were legal, I acted swiftly to place them on a temporary emergency schedule—then immediately went to work with state lawmakers to permanently ban new compounds.
Through these efforts, we outlawed more than 130 chemical compounds found in a host of harmful synthetic drugs, put drug dealers on notice, raised awareness and saved lives; but more needed to be done.
In an effort to aid law enforcement with constantly changing new and harmful compounds, this legislative session we passed a bill categorically outlawing seven different categories of synthetic drugs in Florida. In years past, state crime lab technicians needed to test a synthetic drug to determine whether or not its chemical makeup was illegal.
This new law, passed this legislative session and recently signed by Governor Rick Scott, goes into effect in July.
It will help law enforcement officers quickly classify novel substances as illegal; and therefore, aid in the arrest of the criminals selling this poison.
However, statutory bans and increased law enforcement efforts will not solve this problem alone. Parents must be vigilant by educating themselves as well as their children about what these drugs look like and how they affect behavior.
Synthetic drugs often come in bright, colorful packaging. They are sold in pill form, as well as a powder, and some products look like marijuana.
The substances can cause delusions, hallucinations and even seizures. “Bath salts” can dramatically increase body temperature and blood pressure. “Spice” can slow down mental function, causing users to appear catatonic.
Know the signs, and as school lets out for summer, parents and mentors please talk to students about the dangers posed by synthetic drugs— and let them know, using just once can kill. If you suspect someone is using drugs, call a local crisis intervention center. If you expect someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately. The call could save their life.
One of the most disturbing things I hear when speaking with parents is that they never believed their own child would take drugs. Please help me spread the word. One life lost to drug abuse is too many.
Your involvement could save a life.”