Virginia bands together against synthetic drugs

By KBJR News 1

September 26, 2013 Updated Sep 26, 2013 at 12:20 AM CDT

Virginia, MN (NNCNOW.com) - People living in Virginia are pushing to clean their streets of synthetic drugs.

It's an issue the City Council is working hard to fight as they prepare to vote on city ordinances.

On Wednesday the community came together to learn more about what can be done.

The Virginia City Council made their message clear on Tuesday.

"The right thing to do is to ban this substance," said councilor Larry Cuffe.

Wednesday, neighbors banded together to keep their city clean from the spread of synthetics.

They asked authorities some tough questions.

"Why can't we as a city, why can't they just say you can't sell it, I don't understand that."

"We need to try to do something different up here so we're not facing the same thing as Duluth."

On Wednesday, they came together at the Iron Range Rehab Center to hear from a panel of professionals from US Senator Amy Klobuchar's office to the city fire chief on the problems with synthetics.

"This is a huge problem in our community and we're dealing with it daily," said Virginia Fire Chief Dan L'Allier

Some professionals shared staggering statistics.

"We're seeing 14,000 emergency room patients a year in our small seven bed emergency room, so we are definitely seeing an increase in synthetic drug use," said Joe Buria, Essentia Health Virginia ER manager.

While others told troubling stories from the perspective of a child affected by synthetic drugs.

"Children see their parents running and hiding from things that aren't there. Children see their parents in the car driving erratically. Children see their parents arrested by police. Children see their parents lying on the floor foaming from the mouth. Children don't see their parents anymore," said Paula Stocke, St. Louis County Social Service

But Virginia Police Chief Dennis Benz says one of the biggest issues he sees with synthetics is that no one really knows what's in the product, until it's too late.

"The things that happen when you use it are unpredictable. It affects every person a little differently, we do have people that have died from this, there have been people who have died from this," said Police Chief Dennis Benz.

As the community comes together many say they're are confident the Virginia city council will quickly pass ordinances banning the substance, keeping the Queen City clean.

The Virginia City Council is leaning towards banning the sale, use and possession of synthetic drugs in the city.

The council is expected to discuss the civil penalties for the proposed ordinances at next week's finance committee meeting.

Jeremy Brickley
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