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Nov 9, 2012 12:01 AM by Steven Albritton

Synthetic Drugs Still a Problem, Newest Drug Headed Our Way

Synthetic, or artificially made drugs, have a firm presence in Acadiana.

"We've seen a huge increase in the usage of the synthetic drug and that's something we are constantly focusing on." Captain John Babin of the Lafayette Metro Taskforce said.

In recent months, Bath Salts alone have received plenty of press about what they've caused people to do. Dr. Wayne Cestia of University Medical has seen the effects first hand of these artificially made drugs.

"Those individuals in many ways, either harm themselves whether it be with a weapon or with their own hands," Dr. Cestia said.

Bath Salts also go by the name of Ivory Wave, Red Dove, and Vanilla Sky just to name a few. Someone on bath salts can experience a variety of different symptoms; many of which can lead to extended paralysis.

"We tend to see patients who have come in who are psychotic but they haven't actually hurt anyone. They haven't hurt themselves. They tend to be more hallucinating with some delusions," Dr. Michael Peoples of Lafayette General said. He has also treated patients that have come into the ER on these drugs.

"It can take anywhere from a few hours, however, to up to 12, sometimes even 15 or 16 hours for this to clear their system to get back to their normal."

Synthetic marijuana,also known as K-2 or "spice," has also become a problem. A big worry with both the fake marijuana and bath salts is how it's made.

"In realistic measures it is much more dangerous because it is a completely synthetic material that is unchecked in its production, and the consumer can potentially ingest an enormous amount of this chemical with not knowing it," Dr. Cestia said.

Not only that, but the chemical used in the synthetic marijuana has no similaritIes with THC, the chemical that produces a high in regular marijuana.

"They are a very insidious mixture of chemicals that are meant to mimic the responses to THC, but in many cases, which we've seen, the effects on individuals are much unpredictable, and much more potent," Dr. Cestia said.

Both are now illegal in Louisiana, but now the next wave of synthetic drugs are already being produced and has already killed teens in other parts of the country. Street name: "Smiles"

"I believe it stands for actually both of the products both K2 or Spice, which are synthetic canabinoids, or methadrone which is being used as a street name of bath salts," Dr. Cestia said.

A combination drug of bath salts and synthetic marijuana. No arrests have been made in this area but police are ready.

"We've heard about it. We're aware of it. But we haven't encountered it here yet. We believe it is here in this area," Captain Babin said.

Both doctors and police stress parents stay educated on these drugs and always be on the look out for symptoms.

Tomorrow the state will formally ban the chemical 25-I. A key component in the drug Smiles.



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