Designer drug users informed of ban

Gov. adds newest designer drugs to Fla. list

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Several Orange Park teenagers say they've tried designer drugs and have felt their effects.

"It was like it took over my whole body," one said.

"I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. It hit me straight in the heart," another added.

"I felt paranoid 'cause I didn't know what was going to happen," another said. "I was just nervous. I was scared."

But 19-year-old Anthony Sanchez says he had the worst experience using designer drugs.

"The rim of my eyes started closing up, just straight blackness, and I couldn't see nothing for like five seconds and my eyes were wide open," he said. "I couldn't see. I thought I was blind for a sec."

Sanchez said he did the drugs because at the time they were legal.

Those once legal designer drugs are now officially banned for sale in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed into law a measure that adds 27 new designer drugs to the state's controlled substances list. The new law now makes it a third-degree felony for someone to make or sell the drugs, or possess them with intent to sell.

The drugs have street names such as "incense," ''potpourri," ''K2," ''spice" and "bath salts," and with the right connections are readily available at various convenience stores. The synthetic drugs can cause hallucinations, seizures, paranoia and psychotic episodes, among other symptoms.

The teens say they have no interest in trying them again. Others are not so lucky.

"I don't really talk to my wife at all because once I get home from work, I instantly start smoking it, then I start falling asleep," a man named Nathan said. "I don't interact with my kids. I mean, it's really ruined my life."

Nathan said he is addicted to K2 and spends at least $600 a month on it. He'd give anything to kick the addiction, and he hopes the new law banning the sale of the drugs will give him the strength to do it.

"If they stop selling it to me, then I'm going to quit smoking it," Nathan said.

Psychiatrist Marcus De Carvalho said about a third of the teens he's treated have abused designer drugs, despite the well-known risks.

"You can actually die," he said. "There are cases where kids have smoked these synthetic marijuanas and actually have died and gone into comas, had seizures."

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.