Designer Drugs Pose Problem For Law Enforcement - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Designer Drugs Pose Problem For Law Enforcement

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DELMARVA - Heroin and prescription drugs are a growing problem here on Delmarva, but synthetic drugs, chemical compounds produced to give an intense high, are back in the headlines after sources say they were consumed the night Samuel Cross was strangled to death in Talbot County.

What makes these synthetic drugs so dangerous is the user doesn't really know what they're putting in their bodies, and because they're not a natural substance, or regulated by any industry drug makers have figured out how to keep the cops at bay by just making a few chemical changes.

"The new drugs are being introduced into the market that just, are changing almost daily,"says Gary Pearce, Executive Director of the Talbot Partnership.    

Names like bath salts, and spice, synthetic drugs, created in labs, often overseas, can be tweaked and changed so quickly, law enforcement say it's hard to keep up.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis tells 47ABC "every time we pass new legislation to prohibit or outlaw these designer drugs, all they have to do is change one ingredient and it now becomes legal."

According to sources, a synthetic hallucinogen was involved in the 2013 strangling death of Talbot County teen Samuel Cross.

While designer drugs haven't hit big here on The Shore, officials say Delmarva's drug problem still has them on edge.      

"The perception of danger from drugs seems to be diminishing, and that's a concern of ours," says Pearce.

But with the haunting example of Cross' drug related death in the news, they hope that trend takes a turn.     

"Anytime you have a tragedy in the community," says Pearce, "it certainly helps to raise the awareness of the problem."

While officials say they're worried the dangerous perception of drugs is diminishing, there are signs of progress.

In the second half of 2013, the opioid overdose drug Narcan was used 34 times in Talbot County.  So far in 2014, that numbers is dropping. 

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