The DEA’s War against Synthetic Drugs

As the availability of prescription drugs becomes scarce in certain areas of the country, many drug traffickers, distributors, and users turn to the newest breed of illicit drugs: synthetics.

Bath Salts

In particular, much attention has been recently given to synthetic marijuana and methylone – more commonly known as “bath salts.” The DEA has seen a marked increase in these synthetic drugs in recent years; particularly among young teenagers and young adults, likely because they are relatively easy to acquire and are generally quite inexpensive. Just some of the designer names bath salts have been called include: Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, and Bliss.

The DEA reports that these synthetic drugs include compounds that mimic the effects of LSD, cocaine and methamphetamine. As such, just a few of the effects of these drugs include: reduced motor control; disorientation; impaired perception; paranoia; and even violent outbursts. Although the long-term effects of these drugs, both psychologically and physically, have not yet been studied, the DEA notes that they are likely severe.

Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana (often marketed as K2 or Spice) has also become a large concern for the DEA and state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies, as it is often marketed innocently enough as “herbal incense.” Many young teens and young adults have fallen prey to these products under the guise of being “legal.”

However, unbeknownst to many, synthetic marijuana actually contains a plant material that has been laced with a compound that mimics the active ingredient in marijuana. Because these compounds have not been tested or approved for consumption in the United States, the long-term physical and psychological effects could be severe.

Operation Log Jam

The DEA is working hard to control the trafficking and distribution of synthetic drugs, as is evident from a July 2012 nationwide takedown of synthetic drugs. Dubbed “Operation Log Jam,” the DEA was successful in arresting more than 90 people and seizing nearly 20 million packets of synthetic drugs and more than $36 million in cash.