Head Shop Selling Killer Chemicals – Get Addiction Help for Designer Drugs
I recently read a news item about a ‘head shop’ in Duluth, Minnesota. Head shops carry drug paraphernalia – incense, pipes, certain music, posters, and so on. The head shop in this story – called ‘Last Place on Earth’ – also carries ‘drugs’. In fact, they are not yet classified as drugs; the substances are dangerous chemicals that mimic the effects of methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, etc. They are being called ‘designer drugs.’ Unfortunately, they are not yet illegal – although they will be very soon. The people who make them, sell them, and simply possess them will then be breaking the law. And it’s a good thing. These chemicals are causing very serious physical and mental conditions, and the people using them are in serious need of addiction help.
The news item about the head shop began: “On many mornings, it looks like it’s the hottest business in downtown Duluth. Dozens of customers line up in front of the Last Place on Earth head shop on Superior Street to buy designer drugs, including herbal incense — sold as a legal alternative to marijuana — with names such as No Name, Armageddon and DOA, and bath salts called Insurrection and Lunar Eclipse. Some of the fidgety customers look like they’re waiting to get into a soup kitchen. Others look like your next-door neighbor. The products they are seeking to buy are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as legally mimicking cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.”
Reports regarding the dangerous effects of these chemicals are mounting. The number of reports to the Poison Control Center went from 0 in 2009, to 302 in 2010, and to 2,237 in just the first six months 2011.
There have been 20 calls in the last month in the Duluth area alone. A police sergeant describes his experience with people using these chemicals/drugs: “My personal experience is that it looks like a really bad trip on meth to me. People hallucinate and have very erratic behavior. Paranoia. Very uncontrolled. They sometimes have violence toward themselves and toward others. Just very, very odd.”
A doctor at just one local hospital says he sees two to ten people a week coming into the ER for problems with these ‘designer drugs’. “People snort it, or mostly inject it, it seems, in the arm, or whatever vein they can access depending on whatever their drug history is. The last one I saw was somebody who had been using it and brought in by police. They had two (officers) to restrain him. He had high blood pressure, high pulse, screaming, really struggling with police that required him to be sedated and admitted to the hospital.”
He also said that the drugs can cause seizures, kidney failure and death, and that there have been many reports about people “being so psychotic and hallucinating that they cut themselves with knives.”
The owner of the store, whose name is Jim Carlson, said he expects to make $6 million this year off these chemicals. He makes no apologies; he told reporters that people have a right to do whatever they want for their ‘enjoyment.’
Right. Here I was thinking that going psychotic, cutting yourself and having seizures and kidney failure was a bad thing!
Mr. Carlson doesn’t use the chemicals himself, says he doesn’t like them. In fact, it appears he doesn’t use any drugs, just has one or two drinks a week.
The DEA is working on making these substances illegal; a temporary measure should be in place by mid-October and will last 12 to 18 months. The permanent law should be passed by then. The chemicals will be classified as “Schedule 1 substances, the most restrictive category, which is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no currently accepted medical use in the U.S.”
Fortunately, we only have to wait until mid-October before people making or selling these chemicals can be prosecuted. As with other drugs, they would also be able to be prosecuted for any harm that comes to someone they sell them to.
One parent, whose son was using these chemicals, said she ‘can’t do anything about it because they’re not illegal.’ Yes, there is something you can do – kids don’t have to be using illegal chemicals to go to a drug rehab program. Making substances illegal illegal won’t help that end of things – the people using them will just find other drugs or chemicals if they can’t get these anymore. What they need is drug rehab.
But when the law does come into affect, I do hope that parents and other family members and friends of the people who have been harmed by these chemicals will take full advantage of their ability to prosecute the manufacturers and pushers.