Synthetic drugs in high demand in Maryland

The father of a Harford County teen killed by a sheriff's deputy believes his son may have been high on synthetic drugs in the hours before the shooting.  The drugs, which have been on the Drug Enforcement Administration's radar for years, are widely available in Maryland.

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ABC2 spoke with Gary Tuggle, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office.  He says synthetic drugs like Spice and Bath Salts are still being sold in Maryland despite bans. 

Kids believe Spice mimics the high of marijuana while Bath Salts are supposed to mimic the high of cocaine.  But Tuggle says the synthetic forms of these drugs are much, much strong.  And these days, information about them is spreading thanks to social media, as Tuggle explains, "How to get it, where to find it, the euphoric effects of it.  Some folks even use social media as a distribution hub for Bath Salts and K2 and Spice."

The DEA says despite the bans, synthetic drugs are still being sold, often at mom-and-pop corner stores, convenience stores and gas stations.  In many situations, the people who manufacture these substances are one step ahead of the bans according to Tuggle, "What you have are chemists literally sitting around in labs coming up with ways to defeat our legislation.  Every time we come up with legislation to attack it reactively they go out and change an analog or molecule and they create a totally different drug."

For more information about the dangers of Spice, bath salts and other similar products, visit ABC2 News' synthetic drug guide.

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