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Workshop addresses dangers of synthetic drugs

June 5, 2012

KOKOMO, Ind. — With growing use of synthetic drugs, it is important for law enforcement officials, health care providers, teachers, parents and other people to learn more about these substances and their potential health effects.

Dave SelbyDave Selby

IU Kokomo Chief of Police David Selby said the synthetic drugs spice and bath salts are readily available, and the long-term health effects of using them are unknown, which is why it is crucial to provide education.

"People need to know about this, to keep their children safe and their families safe. It's about saving lives and educating our community," Selby said.

The campus police department, together with IU Health, Indiana State Police, and Personal Care Ambulance Transport, recently hosted "Bath salts and spice: What you need to know about these dangerous synthetic drugs," in honor of National EMS week, to provide this education.

Dr. Brent Furbee, toxicologist at IU Health and medical director of the Indiana Poison Center, explained what the drugs are and the medical effects they have the users.

Bath salts are a synthetic stimulant powder with many similarities to methamphetamines. Spice is synthetic cannabis meant to mimic the effects of marijuana.

'These drugs have gained significantly in popularity and use over the last two years," Furbee said. "Health care professionals need to know how to recognize and treat their toxicity, in order to prevent further injury to patients."

Selby said police are seeing increasing use of synthetic drugs. He said it is legal to purchase them, but not to use them.

"These are the growing synthetic drugs out there," Selby said. "They are cheap, and they are not hard to find. People are getting very ill or dying from these substances. It's poisonous."

For more information, contact Selby at (765) 455-9432, or by email dselby@iuk.edu.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/21/2014