Florida Votes to Outlaw Synthetic Drugs

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Florida Votes to Outlaw Synthetic Drugs

Last month, members of the Florida Senate passed a bill which effectively outlaws synthetic drugs. The legislation is now in the hands of Gov. Rick Scott.

Representative Clay Ingram (R):

“HB 1347 is a product of more than five years of work with Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. With the passage of this bill, Florida will finally be able to keep pace with the manufactures of these constantly changing and potentially deadly synthetic drugs.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi has been collaborating with lawmakers in Florida to ban 136 chemical compounds often used to manufacture these drugs. The passed bill will outlaw the drugs by using a classification system, in addition to individually identified compounds.

Attorney General Bondi:

“Thank you…members of our great legislature for voting to pass this life saving legislation that will allow us to categorically outlaw synthetic drugs as a whole. This legislation will help bolster our efforts to combat the growing threat of synthetic drug use, keep these dangerous drugs off store shelves and out of the hands of Florida’s youth.”

Examples of Synthetic Drugs

While all man-made drugs are synthetic, the specific drugs the bill refers to can be described as thus: chemically-laced substances created in a lab, similar in nature to marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamine. They are most commonly found over-the-counter at various convenience stores, gas stations and tobacco/head shops. They can also be purchased online.

There are two basic categories, based on their chemical consistency: cannabinoids and cathinones.

Cannabinoids, as the name would imply, are formulated to mimic the effects of marijuana via lab-produced THC. For this reason, they are also known simply as “synthetic marijuana”. Popular versions of the drug are K2 and Spice. Cannabinioids are also sometimes labeled as “herbal incense”.

Side Effects Include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Discomfort
  • Confusion
  • Desire for the feeling to end

Cathinones create a stimulant effect, not dissimilar from cocaine or meth. They are commonly known as “bath salts” and can be inhaled or smoked. They mostly likely contain MDPV (methylenediozypyrovalerone) but may also contain mephedrone, a derivative of the Khat plant.

Side effects include:

  • Severe paranoia
  • Violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Self-mutilation

Synthetic drugs have reportedly been related to fatalities, and are particular dangerous because the user often doesn’t know what they are getting. For example, some cannabinoid formulations can be much more potent than marijuana itself.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

Related: Florida’s Heroin Epidemic and Increase in Overdose Deaths


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