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DA: County Cracks Down on Designer Drugs

A Canonsburg store was one of a dozen raided Wednesday.

Members of the District Attorney's Drug Task Force and Pennsylvania State Police executed a dozen search warrants Wednesday morning on local businesses as efforts continue to eliminate synthetic marijuana products and other drugs from the community.

One of them was at the .

The search warrants were granted following controlled buys from various retail locations in recent months by state police troopers and undercover detectives from the task force.

Agents have seen a rise in the use of synthetic marijuana, K2 and bath salts, as well as the undesirable side effects that accompany them, Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said in a release Wednesday.

Users of certain synthetic marijuana products have reported instances of disorientation, respiratory injuries, agitation, paranoia, rapid heartbeat, vomiting and even erratic or criminal behaviors.

“Today’s work is a continuation of our mission to protect young adults and children from dangerous drugs in our community," Vittone said. "These products are of unknown origin and are imported into this country. They present a serious recognized health risk.” 

He went on to stress that part of the danger of these “designer drugs” is that they have unidentified ingredients in their chemical formulations with proven adverse health effects.

“There are no standards in place to ensure safety in these products,” he said. “I compliment the hard work of the members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the Drug Task Force in reducing this threat by enforcing the ban placed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency on these substances.”

He said "diligent police work" enabled officers to trace products sold in Washington County to their origin in mainland China. The investigation further lead to the identification of many individuals in different states involved in the manufacture and sale of the drugs. 

These efforts ultimately culminated in Operation Log Jam.

Older and wiser July 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Perhaps it was better when there wasn't much business in Canonsburg. Churches, drug stores, and beer gardens only. something for everybody.
Roger July 25, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I am sure the users of these designer drugs are pleased with the provisions of Obamacare: Coverage on parent's policy until age 26, no rejection for pre-existing conditions, etc. Who cares about the "adverse health effects," when somebody else is standing by to clean up the mess.
Amanda Gillooly July 26, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Roger, in fairness—and to put this issue in perspective—these "designer drugs" were packaged as "not for human consumption" (such as incense) and sold in retail stores. So, I am unsure how Obamacare enters into this one. Just as an FYI, I will have a follow tomorrow about the synthetic drug, its dangers, etc. I just wanted to make that clear. Thanks as always for reading, Roger!
Roger July 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM
Amanda, I understand. But, there is a real dichotomy between the clamor for public assistance on many fronts, including health care, yet people engage in risky behaviors that cause health problems. Obesity is a major problem (36% of our youth) in our society. The money spent on the aftermath of the behaviors is significant. We now have one in eight US residents on food stamps, much of which is directed toward single parented families. Yet, over 50% of babies are born to unwedded :mothers. In some circles, the ratio is 80%. What do we expect the financial outcome when decisions are made to bring babies into the world without a stable family. Recently, the news is filled with stories about new breakthroughs in AIDS control. How much money have we spent on AIDS research? And, we all know the easy answer to control AIDS, without costing anybody a dime. So, when I read stories about these kinds of busts, whether the drug is synthetic, or not, I have to ask "What are these people thinking?" While some choose to engage in these high-healthcare related behaviors, and yet demand heathcare, the rest of us are left to pick up the tab. I guess I missed the class on tolerance for other people's foolishness.
Sandy K August 04, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I agree with you Roger. I am a little late on the comment, but have to agree. If the person who makes the bad choices is not the one who has to suffer the financial consequences and doesn't ever see the outcome, how will he ever learn? Those who are living responsibly are the ones actually being punished in the long run since someone must pay.

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