Cottonwood Gets Tough On Designer Drugs

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What is designer cocaine?

Simply put, they are drugs that manufacturers design around laws created to stop their use. A designer drug that simulates cocaine is marketed as “Glass Cleaner” and also as “Bath Salts.”

Glass Cleaner, specifically, has rendered all but useless an emergency federal ban enacted in October 2011, to stem the sale and use of the potentially lethal Bath Salts. The chemically tweaked designer Glass Cleaners hit the shelves as soon as the federal ban took effect. The ban targets three synthetic stimulants the federal Drug Enforcement Administration will study for a year and determine whether to permanently put them in the same category as heroin, meth and cocaine.

Despite the name, Bath Salts they have nothing in common with the sort that come in lavender scents and promise relaxation when added to a tub full of hot water. They are packaged as “soothing bath salts” to get around federal laws. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because they are not marketed for human consumption and in fact are often marketed as plant fertilizer.

Why then would someone consider snorting, smoking, eating or injecting Bath Salts or Glass Cleaner? For the same reason a person uses any drug: they want to get high.

Bath Salts/Glass Cleaner deliver a high comparable to methamphetamine, cocaine and PCP. Both Bath Salts and Glass Cleaner produce cravings that are very strong and have very addictive qualities.

Those who use Bath Salts/Glass Cleaner experience paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions, psychotic behavior and unnatural strength, as well as muscle spasms, nose bleeds, seizures, hypertension and risk of renal failure.

One example of Bath Salt use involved a Chandler man, who, while hallucinating, allegedly burned his son’s hand in July 2011, because the boy touched his Bible. While other reported cases of Bath Salt use mentions users stabbing and cutting themselves, being so agitated police stunned them with tasers or have spent days experiencing paranoid hallucinations.

So what is being done to stop the sale and use of Bath Salts and Glass Cleaner in Arizona? State Representative Matt Heinz of Tucson, a physician, said he will push for bills to ban the dangerous chemicals found in synthetic cocaine and marijuana, and more importantly, to penalize the businesses that sell a substance causing psychosis, extreme agitation and unnatural strength in users.

Heinz said the bill would impose fines as high as $10,000 and revoke the licenses of businesses selling this “direct threat to public health.”

A strong stance against Bath Salts or chemical analogies was taken on January 3, 2012, by the City of Cottonwood, which passed Ordinance Number 584. This ordinance prohibits the possession, use, sale and display of certain federally controlled dangerous substances and their chemical analogues, marketed under labels that include “bath salt,” “incense,” “window cleaner,” “potpourri,” “plant fertilizer” and “insect repellent” among other names. Any person or entity violating any provision of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500, incarceration of up to six months, or both. Additionally, the City of Cottonwood’s ordinance included that in order to preserve the public health and safety, an emergency was declared. Declaring an emergency allows for the ordinance to take effect immediately.

State Representative Heinz also stated that “the makers of designer drugs, said to be in Eastern Europe and China, are usually two or three generations ahead of law enforcement.” This provides some insight into the extent of the designer drug problem. With this in mind, we all are aware that clothing designers come and go, let’s hope designer drugs will soon go out of style.

References:

Arizonans for the Prevention

Arizona Republic

Eureka Times-Standard Newspaper

Bangor Daily News

Don’t use, abuse or be confused!

For questions or more information on the Gila County Meth Coalition, contact chair Claudia Jones-DalMolin at the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, (928) 402-8572; co-chair Bianca DalMolin, (928) 701-1790; facilitator Misty Cisneros-Contreras, (928) 402-1879; or media liaison Juley D. Bocardo-Homan, (928) 402-4321.

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