APR 15 (ATLANTA) - Synthetic drugs are a growing problem that threaten the health and safety of the younger population across Georgia. As these drugs — commonly marketed under nonthreatening labels such as "bath salts," spice," or "molly"— have increased in popularity, communities have struggled to understand what these substances are and the threats they present.
To promote better understanding in combating this problem, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Georgia World Congress Center Department of Public Safety are conducting this summit to explore the abuse of synthetic drugs in Georgia. This one-day summit features prominent speakers from law enforcement, public health, and drug abuse victims who seek solutions to these problems.
Harry S. Sommers, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, "The sale of synthetic drugs has become a growing problem locally, regionally and nationally. These drugs are made from a variety of dangerous chemical compounds that can be fatal upon one use. This educational summit is a proactive step in combatting the growing trend of synthetic drug abuse. Each stakeholder can contribute a positive course of action to combat this growing problem."
Mistakenly perceived as legal alternatives to illicit drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, and LSD, synthetic drugs also have the unfortunate street reputation of being safer to consume than traditional illegal drugs. In fact, the real consequences of abusing these drugs are far different. Consumption of synthetic drugs has been linked to multiple fatalities in Georgia alone. Moreover, many of the more popular substances have been linked with serious health problems including seizures, panic disorders, and kidney and liver failure, to name just a few. The effects are unpredictable, because the substances often contain a number of unknown drugs chemicals at varying potencies, so that the consumer has no idea what he or she is taking, and those who manufacture these substances constantly change their chemicals and formulas in an effort to stay hidden from law enforcement.
"Synthetic drugs pose a deadly danger for our young people who, in search of a 'good time,' choose to ignore the risks," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "Our ability to turn the tide on this growing problem is not just through prosecutions and convictions; it is through education as well. We are seeking the help of those who touch every part of a child's life to help reinforce the message that synthetic drugs -- by whatever name they are called -- is not the way to go."
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA's interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.