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Pasco battles sales of synthetic drugs

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 04:34 PM
NEW PORT RICHEY -

In an effort to fight the proliferation of synthetic drugs in Pasco County, the sheriff's office last week conducted the first of what it hopes will be many sticker presentations.

A sticker was affixed to the front of the Suncoast Mobil Gas Station, 16055 S.R. 52, Land O' Lakes, telling customers synthetic substances, such as Spice, will not be sold there.

The sticker alerts shoppers: "Synthetic Drugs Kill — These Drugs Are NOT Sold Here."

"We are also working on another avenue with some local merchants who want to stand up to this effort of hurting our youth," Sheriff Chris Nocco said in a statement prior to the event.

"We are working on stickers to place in stores that do not sell synthetic drugs, K2/spice. If, as a community, we only buy at these stores and boycott stores that are selling this poison, then they will feel the pressure. They will either stop selling or lose revenue.

"Either way, we are making our point and saving lives," he said.

"In addition, we are being proactive in explaining to our youth that this is a poison and will destroy their lives by destroying their brains. Our deputies have been attacked by people on these synthetic drugs and have seen some horrifying effects in our community."

This spring, State Attorney General Pam Bondi and others held a news conference announcing certain chemicals used to make bath salts, K2/Spice and other synthetic substances had been banned.

According to the Pasco Sheriff's Office, products marketed as K2 and Spice are marijuanalike, leafy substance sprayed with chemicals. Those chemicals can have mind-altering effects and have been linked in crimes across the state.

Bath salts, which can go by the names Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave or Vanilla Sky, are made of a chemical compound. There is also incense laced with the chemicals.

According to law enforcement officials, users can hallucinate or become agitated from the cocktail of chemicals, which deliver a cocaine-like high. Each of the products is ingested by smoking.

The January drowning death of 19-year-old Logan Matthew Kushner of Safety Harbor was attributed to him smoking the herbal incense Jazz.

Earlier that day, police said the former Palm Harbor University High School football player was smoking the substance before he was later found in a creek.

Agencies have found it tough to enforce bans on the chemicals used to produce the substances because many times the concoctions of chemicals are quickly adjusted to skirt the laws.

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