JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Drug Enforcement Administration is issuing a warning about the latest drug that has made its way to Northeast Florida streets.
N, N-Dimethylpentylone Hydrochloride is categorized as a Cathinone. Cathinone is a natural stimulant that comes from a plant, but this Cathinone is synthetic, meaning it’s a concoction of dangerous chemicals.
It’s a narcotic that people are buying in chunks and then cutting into powders to snort, inject or smoke.
The drug was first found in Sweden in 2014, then seven years later, it showed in a United States toxicology report. Very little is known about the drug.
As of 12 months ago, the dangerous drug started showing up in the Jacksonville metropolitan area.
Jacksonville DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Dubet said law enforcement officers are finding that the younger generation possesses the new drug in area nightclubs and bars.
“It’s very cheap, about $150 to $200 per ounce,” Dubet said. “It’s an alternative that people are turning to just because of the price and the effects they are getting from it.”
The drug effects include an increase in energy and euphoria – similar to the effects of other narcotic stimulants. Dubet said the drug is often sold as cocaine, MDMA, and Ecstasy.
“So, people are buying what they believe is cocaine. Or people are buying what they believe is ecstasy when in fact, it’s this chemical that has similar effects but could be a little more intense and dangerous,” he said.
Because N,N-Dimethylpentylone Hydrochloride creates similar effects as other drugs, law enforcement said it also has the potential to deliver the same negative side effects which include high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, hyperthermia, hallucinations, dehydration, loss of consciousness and death.
“State, local, and federal government is aware of it and we’re all trying to go after the people that are responsible for distributing it on our streets,” Dubet said.
Dubet also pointed out another problem with the drug. He said since it’s being sold as cocaine, an unsuspecting buyer who thinks they’re getting cocaine may resort to gun violence when they realize they were sold something else.
“The customer can feel they’re being ripped off which could lead to some of the retaliatory violence,” he said.
Seventy pounds of the drug was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Washington Dulles International Airport. Agents said two boxes of the drug were sent from China and were listed on the manifest as beauty products.
It’s unclear if the people in China who shipped the drugs to DC are the same people responsible for supplying the same drugs to Northeast Florida.