Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Dangerous Designer Drug Remains on Anchorage Shelves
Lawmakers from both the municipal and state levels have turned their attention to synthetic cocaine, which is being marketed as bath salts.
First, it was synthetic marijuana, also known as “K2” or “Spice.” Now, lawmakers from both the municipal and state levels have turned their attention to synthetic cocaine, which is being marketed as bath salts.
But if their efforts to ban synthetic marijuana are any indication of how successful they'll be in getting rid of synthetic cocaine, they've got a tough battle.
The Drug Enforcement Administration announced Sept. 7 it would ban three chemical ingredients that make bath salts so dangerous, which was supposed to take effect earlier this month.
But bath salts, or synthetic cocaine, are still being sold on the streets of Anchorage.
Store: 'Sup, man?
KTVA: How's it going? You guys got bath salts?
Store: Yup. We do.
KTVA: Where and what kind?
Store: Alright, um, so we have Eightballs in right now.
KTVA: Now, do I need to be careful or anything? Is it illegal? It's legal, right?
Store: Right now it's legal. All I can say is it's not for human consumption.
Five minutes and fifty bucks later, we have a drug known to trigger anything from hallucinations to acts of violence and, in some cases, death.
Anchorage police have had a number of bath salt-related cases but they can't say exactly how many. That’s because the state crime lab does not have the capability to test for the active chemicals in the drug.
The Anchorage Assembly is joining the fight to ban bath salts from city streets.
“Under state law, they can't charge people with DUI because it's not a controlled substance by the state laws,” explained assemblyman Dick Traini during an assembly meeting. “So what they have to do is wait until the state legislature meets this next year and add to it so we can take advantage of our ability to add this to a controlled substance now.”
But whether a city ban, state ban or even federal ban will truly keep bath salts off the streets remains to be seen.