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Breaking News: Bath Salts Shortage Predicted for US

The DEA is cracking down on bath salts and synthetic drug suppliers. Expect a shortage?

The DEA is cracking down on bath salts and synthetic drug suppliers. Can we expect a shortage?

There are less bath salts available in the US today, following a major DEA crackdown involving more than 100 cities.Sythetic cathinones, processing chemicals, synthetic marijuana, supplies and the people working in the factories and distributions centers have all been “arrested”.

“As of today, more than $36 million in cash, more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (ex. bath salts), and the products to produce an additional 392,000 were seized.”

DEA thinks this will put a bit of a crimp in the drug dealers’ operations. DEA calls it an “illegal industry” and is pleased to report having disrupted it:

"This enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers”
- DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart

More than 90 individuals were arrested and more than five million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs were seized.

Operation Log Jam is the first-ever nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry. Primary targets in the operation were every level of the synthetic designer drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The operation was conducted simultaneously in more than 109 U.S. cities. A joint press conference was held this morning, Thursday, July 26th at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA by representatives of the DEA, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security, the IRS, Customs and Border Protection Agency and the U. S. Postal Inspections Service.

We reported on this action yesterday, prior to the formal press conference:

The US DEA has released a press advisory notifying all news outlets of a press conference scheduled for 1:30 PM on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA.

The purpose of the press conference is “to present the results of Operation Log Jam, the first-ever nationwide law-enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often marketed as incense, bath salts or plant food” according to the Pre-Press Conference announcement.

Operation Log Jam was a nation wide multi-agency cooperative effort involving the DEA, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security, the IRS, Customs and Border Protection Agency and the U. S. Postal Inspections Service.

DEA cracks down on bath salts industry with "Operation LogJam" - press conference Thursday
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The DEA is not releasing information until the press conference, but a source at local Florida detox center Sunrise Detox  in Fort Lauderdale told us they were hearing of DEA raids  “all over Florida” including one in West Palm Beach that broke up a synthetic drug distribution center. Drug detox counselors at Sunrise Detox have long advocated for action to control synthetics like K2 and “Spice”, synthetic marijuana they frequently see involved in serious drug addiction at their detox centers in Florida and New Jersey.

We’ll report on the event tomorrow.

"Addiction does not discriminate. People from all walks of life can be dragged down by the needle, bottle, pill or powder."

Please share this with your friends:

People from all walks of life can be dragged down by the needle, bottle, pill or powder.
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Story edited by John Onyma, with contributions from addiction counselors/experts at Sunrise Detox in Florida (undisclosed) and New Jersey (John Moriarty) for contributions. Contact the author, editor, or find out how you can contribute to JohnsAddiction.

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Press Release:

WASHINGTON –  More than 90 individuals were arrested and more than five million packets of finished designer synthetic drugs were seized in the first-ever nationwide law enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often marketed as bath salts, Spice, incense, or plant food.More than $36 million in cash was also seized.

As of today, more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, as well as 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones (ex. bath salts), and the products to produce an additional 392,000 were seized.

Operation Log Jam was conducted jointly by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service,U.S. Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as countless state and local law enforcement members in more than 109 U.S. cities and targetedevery level of the synthetic designer drug industry, including retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.

“Although tremendous progress has been made in legislating and scheduling these dangerous substances, this enforcement action has disrupted the entire illegal industry, from manufacturers to retailers,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to targeting these new and emerging drugs with every scientific, legislative, and investigative tool at our disposal.”

“Today, we struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry.The criminal organizations behind the importation, distribution and selling of these synthetic drugs have scant regard for human life in their reckless pursuit of illicit profits,” said Acting Director of ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations James Chaparro. “ICE is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring this industry to its knees.”

“The synthetic drug industry is an emerging area where we can leverage our financial investigative expertise to trace the path of illicit drug proceeds by identifying the financial linkages among the various co-conspirators,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt and ultimately dismantle the highest level drug trafficking and drug money laundering organizations that pose the greatest threat to Americans and American interests.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service aggressively investigates the use of the U.S. Mail system for the distribution of illegal controlled substances and its proceeds. Our agency uses a multi-tiered approach to these crimes: protection against the use of the mail for illegal purposes and enforcement of laws against drug trafficking and money laundering. This includes collaboration with other agencies,” said Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

“The mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to guard our country’s borders from people and goods that could harm our way of life,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner David V. Aguilar.  “We are proud to be part of an operation that disrupts the flow of synthetic drugs into the country and out of the hands of the American people.”

Over the past several years, there has been a growing use of, and interest in, synthetic cathinones (stimulants/hallucinogens) sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant food.” Marketed under names such as “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” or “Bliss,” these products are comprised of a class of dangerous substances perceived to mimic cocaine, LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. Users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, and violent episodes. The long-term physical and psychological effects of use are unknown but potentially severe.

These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults and those who mistakenly believe they can bypass the drug testing protocols that have been set up by employers and government agencies to protect public safety.  They are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops, and over the Internet. However, they have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption or for medical use, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process.

Smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” and providing a marijuana-like high have also become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, because they are easily available and, in many cases, they are more potent and dangerous than marijuana.  These products consist of plant material that has been coated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Just as with the synthetic cathinones, synthetic cannabinoids are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops and over the Internet.   Brands such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Blaze,” and “Red X Dawn” are labeled as incense to mask their intended purpose.

While many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Operation Log Jam are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (AEA) allows these drugs to be treated as controlled substances if they are proven to be chemically and/or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance.  A number of cases that are part of Operation Log Jam will be prosecuted federally under this analogue provision, which specifically exists to combat these new and emerging designer drugs.

DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to combat both synthetic cathinones (the so-called bath salts like Ivory Wave, etc.) and synthetic cannabinoids (the so-called incense products like K2, Spice, etc.), temporarily placing several of these dangerous chemicals into Schedule I of the CSA. Congress has also acted, permanently placing 26 substances into Schedule I of the CSA.

In 2010, poison centers nationwide responded to about 3,200 calls related to synthetic “Spice” and “bath salts.”  In 2011, that number jumped to more than 13,000 calls. Sixty percent of the cases involved patients 25 and younger.

 

 

Pre-announcement from the DEA:

DEA Announces Results of Nationwide Synthetic Drug Takedown

Operations Taking Place in Nearly 100 American Cities

The DEA and other federal law-enforcement partners are holding a press conference tomorrow to present the results of Operation Log Jam, the first-ever nationwide law-enforcement action against the synthetic designer drug industry responsible for the production and sale of synthetic drugs that are often marketed as incense, bath salts or plant food.

When:  Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. EDST

Please arrive early to allow time to be processed through security.  Television crews should arrive 45 minutes early.

Where:  DEA Headquarters, First Floor Media Room off the lobby

700 Army Navy Drive (corner of Hayes across from Fashion Centre Mall in Pentagon City)
Arlington, VA  22202

Who:  DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations Acting Director James Chaparro;
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Chief Richard Weber;
Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations James Engleman;
U. S. Postal Inspections Service Deputy Chief Inspector Shawn Tiller

Parking is provided only for television trucks.  Television crews:  Please RSVP to 202-307-7977 by noon Thursday.  Parking is available on the street or at the nearby Fashion Centre Mall at Pentagon City.  DEA Headquarters is one block from the Pentagon City Metro.

 

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