Caddo Parish, LA (KMSS) — In January, Greenwood Police responded to a roll-over accident on the 20. When they got there, they found several bags of synthetic marijuana inside the car. According to Lt. Shayne Gibson, that’s not that unusual, "synthetic marijuana's probably a third of our marijuana arrests here lately."
Dr. Mark Ryan, the director of the Louisiana Poison Control Center says it isn't just a local problem, "synthetic drugs are a huge problem, not just in Louisiana, but across the nation. We first started to see them in various forms in 2009 and here we are 2014 and they're still going strong with new ones emerging at least every month."
Because synthetic drugs aren't natural, new ones can be easily invented. That makes them potentially more dangerous than traditional street drugs according to Ryan. "They're gone through no sort of testing what so ever. Created in a lab. Assumed from the chemical structure that it should have a certain effect on someone. Well, it may or it may not."
That also means that doctors and even poison control may not know how to treat bad reactions.
8 of the new ones are such a problem that an emergency rule was placed yesterday, making these 8 chemicals illegal immediately. However, Ryan knows that these 8 won't be the last. So far more than 200 synthetic drugs have been identified, all of them different. He admits, "we haven't really been able to keep up. We've tried to remain as close as we can. It's very difficult for us to realize and recognize that a new ones come out. Have it tested to confirm it and then identify which ones are the problems."
Even so, they aren’t going to give up trying.