Everything can be bought on the internet. Some things are legal, some not so much, and those in flux may err on the wrong side of the law. Such is the case with 16 new hallucinogenic designer drugs available for purchase online.
The drugs emulate the effects of illicit substances such as LSD and Ecstasy. They are marketed under catchy names like “Charly Sheen,” "Dust Till Dawn," and "Pink Panther," but are sold officially as “research chemicals” or “plant food” with a warning label against human consumption.
One lawmaker doesn’t buy the façade.
New York State Senator Jeffery Klein joined Dr. Mehmet Oz to announce legislation banning the sale of these synthetic drugs. The legislation will mark the possession and sale of these drugs on par with illegal drugs like heroine or methamphetamine. Senator Klein says he was prompted to take action after seeing the issue brought to light on the Doctor Oz show. The episode, aired November of 2011, focused on incidents in Oklahoma and Minnesota where three young adults died from ingesting these unregulated compounds.
Senator Klein says the designer drugs are sold in shiny and brightly colored packages designed to target young people. From the same website where one could order the synthetic drugs, Klein says he was able to buy a container disguised as a can of tomato sauce to hide the drugs. Klein says he is troubled by the availability of these substances.
"This is a problem and it’s becoming very easy for our young people to be able to purchase [these drugs] online as easy as buying books or downloading music" Klein said.
Senator Klein's office released a report titled "Not For Human Consumption, Research Chemicals: The New Designer Drug Problem." Included in the report was an investigation on the validity of the “research chemical” many of the drugs have. What the report shows is most of the labeled drugs do not have information on chemical make-up, rendering any research utility virtually useless.
Dr. Oz says Senator Klein's bill can help remedy the problem. "There are hundreds of products like this that could easily be unleashed on the American public if we don’t get ahead of this in a smart way. There’s no way that law enforcement will have any chance of keeping up with this."