New website launched to combat synthetic drug problem

By KBJR News 1

August 6, 2014 Updated Aug 6, 2014 at 10:21 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- It's the dangers of synthetic drugs...

"I liken these drugs, using these drugs, to a chemical form of Russian Roulette. These drugs are not manufactured to any particular good standards and people that use them cannot be certain from batch to batch what they're getting," said Cody Wiberg, Executive Director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

It's that situation that has caused the Minnesota Department of Human Services to create a new tool to fight against the potentially deadly substances.

"Know the dangers-dot-com" is intended to give information to all of us to help understand what these drugs are like, where they can be found, how they're packaged, the dangers of them and also give us ideas about how to talk to young people about them," said Lucinda Jesson, Human Services Commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Synthetics mimic the effects of marijuana and amphetamines, but can sometimes be more powerful and addictive.

"We know that these drugs, synthetic drugs, are second only to marijuana, as far as drugs that are commonly used by our youth," said Jesson.

For Representative Erik Simonson of Duluth, the website and cause hits home. A mother testified at the legislature about her son's addiction to synthetics from the Last Place on Earth in Duluth. She thanked Representative Simonson for his work during the hearings. Simonson recently learned of the son's death.

"If we can prevent one life lost, or one son or one daughter or one family member or an uncle or a brother or a sister from becoming addicted to synthetic drugs than it was all worth it to me," said Rep. Simonson.

New legislation went into effect on August First that allows the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to issue "cease and desist" orders to businesses that sell synthetic drugs.

That law also expands the definition of "drug" to any substance not approved for human consumption.