10 Things To Know About Synthetic Drugs

Retired San Diego County Deputy Sheriff and SAY San Diego Prevention Specialist William Perno is a subject-matter expert on synthetic drugs. Mr. Perno has testified in support of synthetic drug legislation at the California State Assembly and provided trainings to community groups, school districts, students, teachers, parents, health care and prevention providers, drug-free community coalitions, policy makers and law enforcement throughout California. Mr. Perno was recently recognized by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, as a key educator and an activist who assisted in the creation of the new synthetic drug ordinance in San Diego. 

100201-M-3762C-00110 Things To Know About Synthetic Drugs “New Psychoactive Substances”

by William Perno

  1. There are hundreds of different chemical formulas for Synthetic Cannabinoids (“Spice”, “K2”) and Synthetic Stimulants (“Bath Salts”).
  2. “Spice” is a toxic, man-made, chemical drug. There is nothing plant based about the drug. The drug is sprayed/laced onto plant material. The plant material is the fuel source to burn and vaporize the chemicals. Inhaling or ingesting the chemical fumes/chemicals causes the high.
  3. Synthetic drugs are marked “Not for Human Consumption” to avoid Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulations. There is no medicinal or legitimate use for these drugs. These dangerous drugs are deliberately and falsely mislabeled as household products when in reality they are intended as drugs of abuse.
  4. The packaging used for synthetic drugs does not state what chemicals are contained inside the package. The end user has no idea what type of synthetic drug, potency/purity or other contaminates/adulterants are contained inside. There is no information on who to contact if there is an adverse reaction.
  5. Use of these drugs is Chemical Russian Roulette! Synthetic drugs affect people differently and effects can range from a strong high to serious injury and death from one-time use. There were no clinical trials, no human studies and the long-term effect of these drugs are unknown. People who use these drugs are “human guinea pigs”.
  6. Synthetic drugs can be deadly in micro-gram doses (equivalent to 15-25 grains of salt).
  7. Synthetic drugs can be sold in retail stores, street sales and on the Internet.
  8. There are specialized tests to detect synthetic drugs. These tests are more expensive than the drug tests that detect traditional controlled substances. Not all agencies/organizations test for synthetic drugs. As new chemical formulas are released, the tests need to be updated.
  9. Poison Control Center data is under-reported for synthetic drug use. There is no mandatory reporting requirement for hospitals and first responders. There have been more than 950 “Spice” poisonings within the City of San Diego (March 2015 through October 2016).
  10. Synthetic drug chemical formulas are continually changing, as drug dealers/manufacturers change the chemical formula to stay ahead of legislative changes. Local city ordinances can be utilized to address gaps in state and/or federal legislation. The cities of San Diego and Oceanside have updated synthetic drug ordinances.

Contact William Perno for more information on free trainings for your community.