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Alachua County Sheriff’s Office enforces Bondi’s ban of synthetic drugs

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The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office is already responding to Attorney General Pam Bondi’s emergency rule outlawing 22 additional synthetic drugs.

Bondi made the announcement of the emergency rule on Tuesday in Tallahassee, which designates new synthetic drugs as Schedule I of controlled substances. That means it’s a third-degree felony for anyone to sell, make or deliver these types of drugs commonly called bath salts, K2 or Spice.

Shortly following Bondi’s announcement, Alachua County’s crime prevention unit informed convenient stores and head shops, which often carry synthetic drugs, about the new ban, said Art Forgey, the Sheriff Office’s spokesman.

None of the 22 newly illegal drugs were found in stores that the unit visited yesterday, he said.

Bondi said she’ll work with the Florida Legislature to ban these 22 additional drugs permanently. These drugs “have been linked to thousands of emergency department visits across the country,” she said.

Forgey echoed her sentiment, saying that synthetic drugs are often more dangerous, but they are marketed are as safe alternatives to drugs like ecstasy, amphetamines and cocaine.

Many synthetic drugs can cause psychotic episodes, hallucinations, seizures, paranoia, tremors and other problems.

“We’ve seen several different high-profile cases where people have used these drugs and done very high-profile criminal acts or, worse yet, have killed themselves,” Forgey said.

“Several of these substances were banned many years ago. Because in the laboratory they’re able to create and change them just a little bit and it makes a new compound, we’re always chasing the laboratory as to what is illegal and what is not because they chemically change them just a little bit each time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hana Engroff wrote this story online.

About Matt Sheehan

Matt can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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