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Synthetic Drug Use On The Rise In The Permian Basin

That's why federal officials and local officers held a press conference on Wednesday to highlight the dangers of these drugs.
MIDLAND, TX (Local Big 2 News) - Synethic drug use is on the rise. That's why federal officials and local officers held a press conference on Wednesday to highlight the dangers of these drugs.

"They're having hallucinations, they're seeing colors, they're seeing different things in their mind," said Midland County Sheriff Gairy Painter.

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter describes someone under the influence, of synthetic drugs.

"They will fight you at the drop of a hat and they're strong," said Painter.

Drugs like synthetic Marijuana and Cathinones, also known as bath salts.

"They don't know the damage, they don't know the seriousness of it or the fact that it is illegal," said Painter.

That's why officers and medical representatives gathered Wednesday afternoon to bring awareness to the Basin.

"We perceive this as a serious problem," said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman tells me the drug packaging is deceptive and grabs the attention of younger kids.

"The packaging disguises the true nature of these substances," said Pitman.

Their clever labels are likely to spark interest.

"These things are labeled potpourri, herbal incense, bath salts, plant food, jewelry cleaner and on it it says not for human consumption," said Pitman.

But that's not stopping people. Health officials tell me the number of patients on these drugs has doubled since last year.

"Last year we saw an average of about 158 patients from this drug use, since the beginning of this year, we've seen 368," said Emergency Services Director at Medical Center Hospital Manuel Guerrero.

Officials want to clear up the common misconceptions about synthetic drugs. One being they are legal and two they are safe.

"It's not only a violation of state law, it's a violation of federal law," said Painter.

Pitman points out just a few of the adverse affects.

"Hypertension, agitation, vomiting, hallucinations, and convulsions," said Pitman.

One of the reasons it's difficult to stop this problem is due to the convenient sales of the products.

"It's sold behind the counter in some convenient stores, some gas stations, it's also sold over the Internet and so keeping up with the supplier is difficult," said Painter.

But Pitman told me the important thing is to get the message out to potential users, parents and educators.
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