Wolf Signs in New PA Law to Control Designer Drugs
Have you heard of designer drugs? Basically, they’re drugs that are made in a lab – usually something seedy – to mimic or give a reaction similar to another drug that is already controlled by the government, pronounced legal or illegal, and designated as to the degree of danger it poses. However, they’re not the actual drugs and, in fact, aren’t chemically identical to any known drug – which means you don’t really know what’s in them or how you’ll react to them. It also means they’re legal – no matter how much damage they cause.
People are making these kinds of ‘drugs’ every day. They’re hoping to sell a lot of them before the law gets a chance to investigate them and make them illegal. Isn’t it amazing that there are people in the world who will make this stuff, sell it, and not even quit when people start dying. They wait until the law says they are doing something illegal. There are shops, and individuals of course, that sell this kind of thing – even your little corner store.
In 2013, for example, Flakka, a substance made primarily in China, hit Broward County, Florida. Flakka is similar to amphetamines like Ecstasy, but is known as ‘the insanity drug.’ The incidents that led up to this ‘nickname’ included the guy who impaled himself on a spiked fence, another who ran naked through the street claiming someone had stolen his clothes, and yet another who tried to kick in a police station door, saying cars were chasing him.
It can raise your temp to 105 degrees, cause heart problems, near lethally high blood pressure, kidney failure. And paranoia and lack of focus, which can be permanent.
When it showed up in Broward County in 2013, police found 7 instances of it when testing drug seizures and fatalities. By 2014 that number had gone to 576, and it surpassed 900 in 2015. Over the first 14 months it was on the street, 60 people died. Some days hospitals have gotten dozens of patients on Flakka, and Flakka-related emergencies sometimes constitute as many as half the calls to police.
But Flakka is just one of many designer drugs. At any given time there are hundreds or thousands available.
How is Governor Wolfe going to make a difference in Pennsylvania? One of the major problems with these drugs is we can’t get them on the controlled substance list and declared illegal fast enough. Gov. Wolfe signed a bill that allows the Secretary of Health to temporarily reschedule controlled substances to a higher schedule, which means when something like this hits the streets something can be done about it legally immediately.
The status of the substance remains in place for a year, which gives it time to get through the regular paperwork.
“We cannot only focus on traditional opioids in our fight against drug abuse,” Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy was quoted as saying in a recent news story: “We must expand our understanding of drug abuse to include new hybrids that are constantly and increasingly finding their way onto our streets. In addition, many of these drugs, when mixed with opioids, are resistant to the lifesaving medication naloxone, and can cause death with even just a microscopic dose.”
This new bill can save a lot of lives.
If you have people on drugs in your life, watch out for designer drugs. Check out the news online for new ones, and stay alert.