Anti-drug leaders aim to fight synthetic drugs aimed at youngsters

Meeting in Jacksonville attempts to coordinate drug prevention efforts

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Drug prevention leaders from across the state met in Jacksonville on Thursday, putting their heads together to find new ways to fight newly created synthetic drugs.

Synthetic PCP, heroin and acid are being sold in convenience stores right in Jacksonville, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi.

During the meeting, Bondi held what she calls a witch's brew concoction -- synthetic heroin packaged in plastic, meant to disguise what it really is.

Bondi met with State Attorney Angela Corey and law enforcement officers to devise a plan to stop the sale of synthetic drugs throughout the entire state.

"We had a girl, a little 14-year-old girl, who overdosed because someone gave it to her and told her it would help her study on finals," Bondi said. "She sprinkled it on her potato chips in a lunch room in front of other kids and went into a violent seizure. She was one of the lucky ones because she survived."

Bondi wants every county in the state of Florida to pass an ordinance banning the sale of synthetic drugs. She said they are getting into the hands of teenagers locally, saying at least 16 percent of high school seniors have experimented.

She said 42 percent of high school students get their drugs from a convenience store, 37 percent from a friend, 13 percent from an individual, and eight percent from a head shop.

"Our children are so vulnerable and they face so many dangers, and we don't need any more dangers presented to our children," Corey said. "So we are going to fight synthetic drugs on their behalf."

State leaders said drug manufacturers are now selling a liquid synthetic drug that teenagers are putting in e-cigarettes, which is extremely dangerous to their health.

"When they are going after 12- and 14-year-olds, we are going to take them out," Bondi said. "The newest thing, they are turning it into liquid and going after e-cigarettes, so we have met with cigarette companies to make them tamper proof."

Bondi said convenience stores caught selling synthetic drugs will lose their lottery license. She said tougher penalties are in the works.

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