Nausea and Vomiting Associated with Spice/K2 Use: Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)

by Karen Dobner (updated 8-13-14)

One of the primary symptoms of Spice/K2 use is abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

In fact, vomiting and rapid heart rate are the most commonly reported symptoms, and one of the first problems noticed by parents and loved-ones when someone is using the synthetic cannabinoids.

However, some people develop an even more painful and debilitating condition.  Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a clinical condition associated with the use of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids characterized by cyclical episodes of nausea and vomiting which is relieved by hot showering/bathing.

Compulsive bathing in hot water develops as symptoms are temporarily alleviated during the bathing process and return immediately as the water cools or they stop showering.

A case study from Mayo Clinic recently warns that CHS, which had traditionally been associated with cannabis use, is now being reported with synthetic cannabinoid use.

Two separate case reports unveiled at the American College of Gastroenterology’s (ACG) 77th Annual Scientific meeting in Las Vegas discuss cases of chronic nausea and vomiting associated with CHS, specifically the use of synthetic cannabinoids:

  • “Marijuana: Anti-Emetic or Pro-Emetic” by Dr. Crissien-Martinez, M.D. at Scripps Green Hospital and Clinic in San Diego
  • “Spicing Up the Differential for Cyclic Vomiting: A Case of Synthetic-Cannabinoid Induced Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS),” by Fong-Kuei Cheng, M.D. and his research team from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.

The case report, “Spicing Up the Differential for Cyclic Vomiting: A Case of Synthetic-Cannabinoid Induced Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS),” may be the first reported case of CH attributed to synthetic cannabinoid, according to Fong-Kuei Cheng, M.D. and his research team from Walter Reed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center/Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD.

“Legal synthetic cannabinoids became available in the United States by 2009 with widespread usage among military personnel due to its ability to elude standard drug Continue reading

150 Arrested in 29 States, $20 million seized – 2nd Phase of Project Synergy

MAY 07 (WASHINGTON) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other federal, state, and local partners announced the culmination of Project Synergy Phase II, an ongoing effort targeting every level of the dangerous global synthetic designer drug market. Since January and leading up to early this morning, nationwide enforcement operations have taken place targeting these drug trafficking organizations that have operated in communities across the country.

Large amounts of money and designer synthetic drugs seized in Gulfport, Mississippi. Large amounts of money and designer synthetic drugs seized in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Large amounts of money and designer synthetic drugs seized in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The second phase of the Project Synergy, which began January 2014, culminated this morning in 29 states, involves more than 45 DEA offices serving nearly 200 search warrants.  As of today, more than 150 individuals have been arrested and federal, state and local law enforcement authorities have seized hundreds of thousands of individually packaged, ready-to-sell synthetic drugs as well as hundreds of kilograms of raw synthetic products to make thousands more.  Additionally, more than $20 million in cash and assets were seized.  These numbers are expected to grow as investigations continue.

Raids took place in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The Special Operations Division-coordinated Project Synergy initiative is aimed at bringing together federal, state, local, and international law enforcement resources to target the dangerous global synthetic designer drug industry through coordinated, united strategies.

In addition to targeting retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, many of these investigations continued to uncover the massive flow of drug-related proceeds to countries in the Middle East, including Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, and as well as other countries.  Investigations also targeted many trade implements such as organic leaves and packaging material used in preparation for drug re-sale and distribution. These facilitators are key players in this ever-changing designer drug industry.

Synthetic cannabinoids seized by the DEA during Project Synergy. Synthetic cannabinoids seized by the DEA during Project Synergy.
Synthetic cannabinoids seized by the DEA during Project Synergy.

Communities, families, and individuals across the United States have experienced the scourge of designer synthetic drugs, which are often marketed as herbal incense, bath salts, jewelry cleaner, or plant food. These dangerous drugs have caused significant abuse, addiction, overdoses, and emergency room visits. Those who have abused synthetic drugs have suffered vomiting, anxiety, agitation, irritability, seizures, hallucinations, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. They have caused significant organ damage as well as overdose deaths.

Over the past five years, DEA has identified between 200 and 300 new designers drugs from eight different structural classes, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China.

“Many who manufacture, distribute and sell these dangerous synthetic drugs found out first hand today that DEA will target, find and prosecute those who have committed these crimes,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “The success of Project Synergy II could not have been possible without the assistance of our state, local and foreign law enforcement partners.  We stand united in our commitment to aggressively pursue criminals who are all too willing to experiment on our children and young adults.”

“Tragically, people die every day at the hands of illegal designer drugs,” said ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale, “Through operations like this, we strike a blow to drug dealers and continue an important national conversation about the dangers associated with drug use.”

“This is another example of the partnership between CBP, HSI, and DEA to share information and participate in joint efforts to keep synthetic drugs out of the country, off the streets, and out of our communities,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The specialized expertise of our CBP officers as well as the unique capabilities of CBP scientists play a vital role in contributing to the seizure and identification of these potentially deadly substances at the border.”

The first phase of Project Synergy began in December of 2012, and resulted in more than 227 arrests and 416 search warrants served in 35 states, 49 cities and five countries, along with more than $60 million in cash and assets seized.   Altogether, 9,445 kilograms of individually packaged, ready-to-sell synthetic drugs, 299 kilograms of cathinone drugs (the falsely labeled “bath salts”), 1,252 kilograms of synthetic cannabinoid drugs (used to make the so-called “fake pot” or herbal incense products), and 783 kilograms of treated plant material were seized.

As was the case in the June 2013 culmination of the first phase of Project Synergy, CBP’s National Targeting Center played a significant role in the continued success of this initiative. As part of this effort, CBP was responsible for identifying and targeting high-risk express consignment shipments suspected of containing synthetic drugs. One of the keys to the success of Project Synergy is the cooperation between CBP and DEA, who routinely share information and intelligence with each other and other partners such as DHS-HSI to strengthen and further these investigations. (see B-roll video link below)

Chemists and other scientists from DEA’s Office of Forensic Science, as well as CBP scientists across the country, were instrumental in identifying synthetic drugs and compounds designed to circumvent U.S. controlled substance classifications.  The identifying of these compounds allowed investigators and prosecutors to quickly act during the course of these investigations. As a result of these cooperative efforts between DEA and CBP through the Special Operations Division, CBP has seized over 3,000 kilograms of illicit designer drugs.  Intelligence has also been shared with other nations such as Australia and other international partners, who have in turn seized hundreds of kilograms of illicit designer substances such as cannabinoids, cathinones and GHB.

Background on designer synthetic drugs

Smokable herbal blends marketed as being “legal” have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults, because they are easily available and they are more potent and dangerous than marijuana.  These products can take a variety of forms, including as plant material that has been treated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. 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. In 2012, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported 11,406 emergency department visits involving a synthetic cannabinoid product during 2010. In a 2013 report, SAMHSA reported the number of emergency department visits in 2011 involving a synthetic cannabinoid product had increased 2.5 times to 28,531. For the past several years, there has also been a growing use of, and interest in, a variety of synthetic substances, including 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. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 2,656 calls related to synthetic cathinone (“bath salts”) exposures in 2012 and overdose deaths have been reported as well.

These products have become increasingly popular, particularly among teens and young adults and those who mistakenly believe they can bypass the drug testing protocols of 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.

Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act

While many of the designer drugs being marketed today that were seized as part of Project Synergy are not specifically prohibited in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act of 1986 (CSAEA) allows many of 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.  Synthetic drug cases prosecuted under this analogue provision have grown steadily in recent years as this problem has evolved. It has proven to be an effective tool 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” with names 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 2012.

More information about synthetic designer drugs can be found on the Drug Fact Sheets athttp://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/index.html

B-roll from Project Synergy Phase II is available at: http://dvidshub.net/r/ff5tjb

Previous B-roll from Project Synergy Phase I (June 2013) is available at:http://www.dvidshub.net/video/294719/cbp-dea-project-synergy-b-roll#.U2pFq3b6-So

Photos from Project Synergy can be found at www.dea.gov

Drug agents make wide crackdown on synthetic drugs

DrugBust3(Reuters) – Drug Enforcement Administration agents served hundreds of search and arrest warrants in at least 25 states on Wednesday as part of a crackdown on synthetic drug producers and distributors, the Associated Press reported.

A DEA official confirmed to Reuters that the agency is involved in an operation targeting synthetic drugs.

Synthetic drugs include blends of marijuana and drugs known as bath salts and Molly, and they are known to have dangerously unpredictable effects on consumers who are usually unaware of the levels of mind-altering chemicals in each blend.

The DEA has increased its scrutiny over the drugs since they gained popularity around 2010.

Wednesday’s raids were conducted in Alabama, Florida, New Mexico and other states, the Associated Press reported.

(Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Bill Trott)

Chicago-area father and son indicted for allegedly operating a $2 million synthetic marijuana mail-order business

New Lenox, IL — A local father and son were indicted Thursday on federal charges for allegedly operating a nationwide mail-order synthetic marijuana business in the the small, quiet town of New Lenox, Illinois, that netted them about $2 million over a three-year period.

The Illinois State Police also assisted in the investigation, which was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

Following an undercover investigation, James M. Bolin and his son, James P. Bolin, were New-Lenox-Village-Hall-1280x853charged with multiple offenses relating to misbranding and trafficking drugs. James M. Bolin was also charged with money laundering. Both defendants allegedly defrauded and misled the FDA and the DEA regarding the drug status of their purported “herbal” products to avoid regulation of the drugs they sold.

On June 4, federal agents executed a search warrant at James M. Bolin’s former residence in Manhattan, Ill., where he operated a business known as “Herbal City,” “H City,” “Shop HC,” and “Show Off City.” During the execution of the search warrant, federal agents seized hundreds of packages of allegedly illegal synthetic cannabinoids, or a version of the psychoactive component of marijuana, as well as $165,247 in cash. The defendants allegedly advertised the sale of misbranded drugs online and created videos to promote human consumption of their products.

James M. Bolin, aka “James Matthew,” 49, and his son, James P. Bolin, aka “Jimmy,” 31, both of New Lenox, Ill., were each charged with the following crimes:

  • one count of conspiring to commit misbranding of drugs,
  • four counts of placing misbranded drugs into commerce, five counts of receiving and delivering misbranded drugs,
  • two counts of conspiring to possess and distribute synthetic marijuana products,
  • six counts of distributing controlled substances or analogues, and
  • one count of attempting to distribute controlled substances or analogues.

James M. Bolin was also charged with seven counts of money laundering.

The 26-count indictment, which also seeks the forfeiture of about $2 million in illegal proceeds, was returned by a federal grand jury Jan. 30. The Bolins will be arraigned on a date yet to be determined in U.S. District Court.

According to the indictment, between January 2010 and June 2013, the defendants conspired to introduce, receive and deliver misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The Bolins bought and sold products that they and their suppliers – located in California, Florida and New York – falsely referred to as “incense,” “herbal incense,” “herbal potpourri,” and other misleading names. In fact, the drugs were falsely labeled, indicating they were not intended for human consumption when they actually were. The packages also failed to bear labels identifying the name and quantity of active ingredients, as well as the name and location of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the indictment alleges.

The indictment identifies the following products that the Bolins allegedly bought, marketed and sold as misbranded drugs: G-20 Herbal Potpourri, Joker Herbal Potpourri, Caution Blitzen Herbal Potpourri, Kronik Kryponite Herbal Potpourri, AK-47 24 Karat Gold Potpourri, ZenBio Sonic Zero Cherry, ZenBio Sonic Zero Blueberry, Hip Hop, Darkness Prince, Out World, Cherry Bomb, Caution Platinum Super Strong Incense, Caution Silver Super Strong Incense, Diablo Botanical Incense, Bizarro, Smoking Santa, Mr. Happy and OMG Next Generation.

The indictment alleges that the defendants used the U.S. Postal Service and commercial carriers to ship and receive their illegal products and leased mailboxes in commercial stores in Frankfort and New Lenox, Ill. They allegedly paid at least $1 million to out-of-state suppliers for the misbranded drugs they obtained, while collecting about $3 million in revenue from customers between 2010 and June 2013.

Each count in the indictment contains various maximum penalties, ranging from three years in prison on the misbranded drug counts, to 20 years in prison on the controlled substance counts and some of the money laundering counts against James M. Bolin. Each count also carries a maximum fine ranging between $250,000 and $1 million.

These charges were announced by the following agency heads: Zachary T. Fardon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; John Redmond, special agent in charge of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations in Chicago; Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); James C. Lee, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Investigation; and Tony Gómez, inspector in charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, Northern District of Illinois, is prosecuting this case.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

“Polite, Sweet, Loving and well-Accomplished Teen Attacks Neighbor, Bites his Face

Nicholas Sorace, 54, was viciously attacked by his neighbor after witnessing the teen attacking a dog, which he thought was the devil.

The young man’s parents are blaming synthetic drugs. Police are investigating that possibility.

We’ve had hundreds of teens give testimony about hallucinations involving the devil, demons and aliens.  The only thing that sets this case apart is the level of injury that the neighbor sustained before the boy was finally subdued.

The teen, who has been charged with attempted murder, has been characterized as a “polite, sweet, loving and well-accomplished” young man.

Reports of hallucinations and violence among those who are not accustomed to cannabinoid agonists seems to be more common than for those who have a history of and resistance to the ingestion of cannabinoid receptor agonists.

Brandon Davis, Attempted Murder Suspect,

Allegedly Bit And Chewed Man’s Face

By     Posted: 01/23/2014

The parents of a St. Petersburg, Fla., teen accused in a brutal attack on his neighbor say their son may have been under the influence of synthetic drugs.

Brandon Davis, 18, faces second-degree attempted murder and other charges after police said he savagely beat his neighbor, 54-year-old Nicholas Sorace, early Sunday.

The teen also allegedly attacked officers when they tried to subdue him.BRANDON-DAVIS-large

Sorace, whose injuries are still clearly visible, said that he heard a commotion outside and came to the window on Sunday around 2 a.m. He allegedly saw Davis beating a dog and “yelling about Jesus Christ and the devil,” Sorace told Fox Tampa Bay.

When Davis saw Sorace at the window, the teen turned on him, breaking down his neighbor’s door.

“He thought the dog was the devil, and then the next thing he sees is me, illuminated. And all of a sudden, I’m the devil,” Sorace told the station.

“He broke a flower pot over my head, he was sticking me in the neck with pieces… he stuck his thumb all the way in my eye socket and he just ripped my mouth and he bit my face. He was Brandon Davis attack handchewing, he chewed my hands.”

By the time police responded, Sorace was motionless on the floor and barely conscious, yet the teen continued to beat him.

“The suspect told him he was going to eat his eyes,” police spokesman Mike Puetz said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

It took four officers to restrain the teen, according to the paper.

“Even after being tased twice, he was still fighting,” Puetz said. “He bit one officer in the hand, and attempted to kick and strike others… The scene was rather bloody.”

Police and neighbors are still trying to make sense of the gruesome attack. Davis’ parents told police that he may have been under the influence of synthetic drugs or hallucinogens at the time of the attack.Brandon Davis attack

Fox Tampa Bay reports that the teen, who remained under sedation at a local hospital as of Tuesday afternoon, had no prior issues with the law.

Neighbors described him to the station as a “polite, sweet, loving, well-accomplished” boy.

 

Alaska Medical Examiner Refusing to Test Product Most Likely Responsible for a Wasilla Death

By Karen Dobner

In the first case of it’s kind, Alaska Coroner has refused to test the Spice product that most likely killed a young man to determine the chemical responsible for his death.  Not too surprisingly, toxicology screenings were unable to identify the chemical in his body fluids.

It is much easier for authorities to identify the chemical in the synthetic drug products than it is for them to identify the chemical (metabolites from chemicals) in toxicology screenings.  The best tests available can only determine the use of 22 of several hundred research chemicals used to manufacture Spice products.

That is assuming that the drug dealers, in this case, used synthetic cannabinoids.  Increasingly, the use of a ‘cocktail’ of research chemicals, including synthetic cathinones and other stimulants, in addition to synthetic cannabinoids, are used to lace Spice products.

Kelli Farquer is a mother on a mission.  After losing her son, Kurtis Hildreth, to Spice, Kelli has been educating herself about the research chemicals that were most likely responsible for her son’s death and an industry which has been traumatizing Americans for several years now.

Every once in awhile there comes another parent who has experienced the loss of a child from a Kurtis Hildrethsynthetic drug and is determined to make sure her/his child does not die in vain.  It was clear from the moment Kelli contacted me that she not going down without a fight.

The Spice product that was found at her son’s fingertips when he died has not been tested to determine the chemical that is most likely responsible for his death.  Alaska medical examiner has refused to test the product for evidence that it was laced with research chemicals because they claim that there is no criminal intent.

A young man has died after smoking a product that we all know is intended for human consumption.  The “Not for Human Consumption” stamp on the back of Spice products has been proven to be an industry ploy to bypass laws designed to protect our citizens.

Farquer is calling for the medical examiner to have the Spice product tested to determine the research chemical responsible for her son’s death.

Sean Doogan, from the Alaska Dispatch did a better job than I could dream of doing.  So, I’ll him tell you the story.   However, stay tuned the the blog for follow-ups.

 

In the wake of a teen’s unexplained death,

answers about Spice are hard to come by

Sean Doogan/January 10, 2014

 Kurtis Hildreth, 18, came to Alaska after graduating high school. He was living with his aunt’s family in Wasilla to get a head start on the next phase of his life. But Hildreth’s life didn’t get a new beginning in the Last Frontier – it ended abruptly, the young man found dead inside his room, a pipe filled with the synthetic drug known as Spice and a lighter, on the floor next to him. His family believes the drug killed him. But the state medical examiner and Alaska State troopers aren’t sure.

Kurtis Hildreth with fishHildreth moved from Florida to spend time with his aunt, Kerri Stevens, and her family at their Wasilla home. Stevens said she wanted to show Hildreth around Alaska and offer him a job in her family’s commercial glass shop. Stevens said she has always been close to Hildreth, her sister Kelli Farquer’s oldest child, and was even there when he was born. She was also there when he died on Nov. 16, 2013, opening Hildreth’s bedroom door to find her nephew’s body crumpled against the wall. Hildreth’s arms were still propped on the windowsill.

“Whatever hit him, (it) hit him hard and hit him fast,” Stevens said as she recounted her nephew’s death. “The pipe was right there by his feet. He was a healthy kid. The lighter was right there. The pipe was right there. He never had any kind of heart problems or seizures.” (See the entire interview of Stevens)

Inside the pipe was some partially burned synthetic marijuana, commonly known as “Spice.” The drug is gaining popularity as a legal marijuana alternative. It is, in reality, an unknown combination of chemicals usually made in China and shipped to the U.S., where it is sprayed on plant material and packaged as incense or potpourri. Most of the packages have labels that say “not for human consumption” on them. And at $20 for two grams, it is extremely expensive – for incense. But everyone knows what the mixture is really used for: to get high.

Stevens and Farquer are certain Spice killed the otherwise healthy Hildreth. But the Alaska Medical Examiner’s Office has listed his death as “undetermined.”

Officially, no one has died as a result of smoking Spice in Alaska. As in many suspected cases, an autopsy of Hildreth’s body did not turn up any medical conditions or problems. A toxicity screening of his blood, bile and other body fluids did not turn up any signs of illegal drugs or alcohol. Hildreth’s death – like an average of 28 others each year in Alaska – will likely go unsolved, medically speaking. But not if Hildreth’s family — and an Illinois mother who started an Internet crusade after the Spice-related death of her own son — has anything to do with it.

The number of people killed by synthetic drugs each year is relatively unknown because most Spice-related deaths are listed as undetermined or as a result of something else. In September, Colorado officials began looking into three deaths that may have been caused by the drug. Internet sites like To the Maximus are rife with stories of both suspected and officially designated Spice-related deaths.

To the Maximus is a nonprofit anti-synthetic drug foundation started by Illinois mother Karen Dobner. Her son Max was killed in June 2011 after he smoked synthetic marijuana then ran his car into a house at more than 100 mph. Dobner had reportedly called his brother to say that he had smoked “that legal stuff” and was “freaking out.” But, as with Hildreth, Dobner’s death was not officially attributed to Spice.

“Currently only 22 of several hundred synthetic cannabinoids can be identified in blood fluids. They are actually looking for metabolites in blood, and it is a difficult and slow process to identify these chemicals,” Karen Dobner said.

Hildreth’s blood was tested for 300 known illegal drugs, including outlawed combinations of Spice. But when it comes to designer drugs, police and prosecutors are far behind the dealers. The chemists change their formulas often, trying to dodge laws aimed at their product. Such is the case in Alaska, where packages of synthetic drugs – easily found on the shelves of dozens of Anchorage and Wasilla area stores – have not tested positive for banned substances in months.

“It’s not a marijuana alternative, and these newer chemicals have never been seen on earth before – the kids are the lab rats,” Dobner said.

In Hildreth’s case, the drugs themselves were not tested to determine their composition. The state medical examiner has refused to discuss Hildreth’s case, citing the privacy of the family. The Alaska State Troopers have finished their report into Hildreth’s death, but it has not yet been released to his family.

 

Simply put, testing for the exact chemical composition in synthetic drugs can be a challenge. But it’s not impossible. NMS labs, in Willow Grove, Pa., does the body fluids drug and chemical testing for the state of Alaska. And while synthetic drugs are difficult to find in blood because the body metabolizes them, they can be identified in the drug itself. It is this test Dobner and Hildreth’s family want the state to carry out. Farquer said the troopers told her they could not submit the drugs to the lab because there appeared to be no criminal intent in Hildreth’s death. Farquer said she is hiring a private attorney to get the drugs to the lab for testing.

“I know Spice killed my son,” Farquer said.

Meanwhile, the Municipality of Anchorage is looking to rid itself of the drug. The Anchorage Assembly is set to consider a new law that will outlaw possession and sale of Spice, not based on the chemical makeup of the drug, but because of what officials say is deceptive marketing.

The drug can be bought in Alaska at local smoke and head shops. It’s usually packaged with a cartoonish character and a devious-sounding name. Popular varieties include “Dead Man” and “Mr. Nice Guy.” It is the latter – inside a package adorned with a smiley face that has been shot through the head — that Hildreth was smoking when he died.

“They market this crap to 12-year-olds. It has Scooby-Doo on the front of it, smiley faces, SpongeBob – I mean, that’s who its being marketed to. It’s horrible,” Stevens said.

Hildreth’s best friend, Brandon Jenkins, said the 18-year-old called him the night before he died. Jenkins said Hildreth told him he was smoking Spice. Jenkins advised his friend to stop. Now that Hildreth is dead, Jenkins is warning other teens to stay away from Spice.”

“It isn’t worth it,” Jenkins said. “Life will lead you in better directions than this stuff will. Life has many opportunities, and death only has one.”

 

 

International Criminal Mastermind of Silk Road Taken Down by FBI

Ross William Ulbricht, the 29-year-old entrepreneur, mastermind behind the anonymous black Ross Ulbrichtmarket drug website known as Silk Road, the Amazon of the drug market, has been known to describe his narcotics bazaar as a victimless libertarian experiment.

In two years, the website is said to have accumulated sales of 1.2 billion dollars.  Ulbreicht is accused of not only selling drugs, but also money laundering, conspiracy, paying for a hitman to murder 2 people.

The website served as a middleman for cocaine, heroin, LSD, cannabis, synthetic drugs and more to almost a million registered users through a web of servers designed to hide the location and identity of Ulbreicht.

Ulbricht is also charged with selling counterfeit currency, fake passports, and drivers licenses, and stolen credit card information.

Hit men, drugs and the fall of Ross Ulbricht, the Silk Road ‘mastermind’

How did Ross Ulbricht, a high-achieving student from Texas, turn into the alleged kingpin known as the Dread Pirate Roberts of the black market Silk Road website?

By , Los Angeles

6:14PM BST 04 Oct 2013

It was an unlikely setting for the arrest of an alleged international criminal mastermind.

But after months of tracking their man through cyberspace the FBI eventually found him sitting in the science fiction section of a small public library above a grocery store in San Francisco.

As undercover agents surrounded the suspected kingpin Ross Ulbricht, 29, he was using Glen Park library’s free publicly funded wireless internet, apparently to run a massive billion dollar drug dealing racket from his laptop.

“He was wearing jeans and a red burgundy T-shirt, he just looked like an every day San Franciscan,” library spokesman Michelle Jeffers told The Daily Telegraph. “Six or eight FBI agents came in separately, dressed like anyone else, and then there was a crash. The librarians didn’t know what was going on. They rushed over because they thought one of the patrons might have fallen over.

“Then they saw this man pushed against the window face first and someone said ‘We’re the FBI’.

According to agents, Ulbricht, who was expected in a San Francisco court on Friday, had been Continue reading

United Nations Report: New Psychoactive Substances “Threaten the Health and Welfare of Mankind”

doomsday_clock

Doomsday Clock

By Karen Dobner (updated 9/17/13)

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) “threaten the health and Welfare of Mankind.”

“The threat of synthetic drugs is one of the most significant drug problems worldwide,” according to the Global SMART update, Volume 10, September 2013 issue.

Global SMART update is a bi-annual publication of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which is designed to provide regular brief reporting on emerging patterns and trends of the global synthetic drug situation which “threatens the health and welfare of mankind.”

The UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov noted the urgency of responding to this trend: “The adverse effects of NPS are poorly understood and present a global health risk. Concerted action is urgently needed by the international community to prevent the manufacture, trafficking and abuse of these drugs. “

Over the past 12 months, the number of NPS reported to the UNODC rose by 41 per cent, from 251 to 354, while countries reporting detection of these substances climbed from 70 to 90.

The UNODC Global Synthetics Monitoring, Analyses, Reporting and Trends (SMART) Programm enhances the capacity of Member States in priority regions to generate, manage, analyze, report and use synthetic drug information to design effective policy and program interventions and monitor the availability of precursor chemicals required to manufacture illicit synthetic drugs.

United Nations

United Nations

The Global Smart Update reports various synthetic drug information, such as significant or unusual drug or precursor seizures, new locations, methods and chemicals used for clandestine manufacture, new trafficking groups or routes, changes in legislation to address the problem of synthetic drugs, emerging substances or user groups, and health implications related to their use.

The most current issue, volume 10, includes a special segment providing a brief overview of the mechanisms provided under the international drug control conventions to place NPS under international control, in addition to an overview of some legislative/regulatory approaches that have been taken so far to regulate NPS at the regional and national levels.

Individual Nations

The Global SMART update also addresses national legislative and law enforcement efforts in several major regions.

Project Synergy:  The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other U.S. law enforcement agencies have announced the results of the largest-ever operation targeting synthetic drugs. The operation resulted in the seizure of 9,945 kg of synthetic drugs, including 299 kg of synthetic cathinones, 1,252 kg of synthetic cannabinoids and 783 kg of plant-based substances. The operation started in December 2012 and was conducted in 35 states, 49 cities and 5 countries (Australia, Barbados, Canada, Panama and the United States). Retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers were targeted and as a result, more than 227 arrests were made and over $51 million (USD) were seized.

Legislative and regulatory responses to control NPS by reporting nations are outlined in the report, including individual listing systems, analogue and generic legislation, temporary bans and rapid procedures.  

 Although Individual countries or specific regions in the world have advanced efforts to regulate the unauthorized supply and distribution of NPS, either as individual or groups of substances, a comprehensive international response is needed to counter this phenomenon that threatens the health and welfare of mankind, whose protection serve as the basis of the international drug control.  

There is currently no international legal response to counteract this phenomenon.

Internationally

In the first of it’s kind, the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on NPS enables countries to share data quickly when these substances enter the international market. This initiative to monitor NPS at the global level was created to inform the 55 member countries of new psychoactive substances at the international level.     

Also, following the G8 Roma-Lyon expert group in London in April 2013, the representatives united-nations-logoof Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, endorsed a statement of intent on collection and sharing of data on NPS, in which they commit themselves to develop comprehensive, coordinated and integrated approaches to the detection, analysis and identification of NPS. Information on prevalence and health risks associated with NPS, and on pharmacological data and related research on NPS, will be collected and shared.

Traditionally, the control of substances that threaten public health in most drug control federal and international systems includes 1) notification to submit a new substance for consideration, 2) an expert assessment of health risks and dependence potential, and 3) drug control measures.

 The UNODC Early Warning Advisory is a great start. However, the global threat that NPS present calls for a rapid legal response on an international level and/or a complete overhaul of the current procedures of drug control.

To the Maximus Foundation (TTM) is calling for a shift in the paradigm of the structure of drug control procedures.  NPS are offering new and unique challenges to our systems of drug control.  ’Business as usual’ will never work within the realm of these new challenges as those in the illicit drug trade will always be one step ahead of us.

TTM submits that it is inevitable that we will be forced to change the burden of proof of health risks and dependency (or lack there of) from the government to the manufacturer and marketer by addressing the mislabeling issues that arise within the synthetic drug industry, and defining “synthetic drug product” as one that contains a control substance which is not regulated by the member nations or the 1971 Convention of Psychotropic Substances.  We then must amend the control substance regulations to include general classes of chemicals that are currently not being used for any legitimate purpose other than research, which will require licensing.

In the ‘legal’ pharmaceutical drug market, all member nations have legislation and regulations which put the burden of proof of risk assessment on the manufacturer and marketer and labeling laws are strictly enforced.  Why would we allow anyone the ability to sell drugs/chemicals on the open market without regulation of those chemicals?  In Illinois, HB 5233 makes it illegal to market chemicals/drugs which are defined as controlled substances and not unregulated by the FDA.  TTM is calling for similar federal legislation.

In the interim, before effective measures are put in place, most member nations already have federal regulations in place to effectively address the issue of unregulated, mislabeled, and deceptive products, as well as legislation that deals specifically with toxic, hazardous, and poisonous synthetic research chemicals (Farmer, Cindy, 2013)

It is inevitable that we will eventually be forced to shift our paradigm for drug control toward a system where the manufacture and marketing of nearly all new research chemicals will not be an inherent right of our citizens.  Until then, the “health and welfare of mankind will be threatened.

To those of us that have lost children or are suffering through the devastation of mental and physical injuries to our loved ones due to NPS, the response on both the national and global level has been painfully slow.

The “health and welfare of mankind” is dependent on our leaders to act expeditiously and aggressively in applying the measures of the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.  It is their responsibility.  Many lives are depending on them.

Global SMART Update Volume 10, September 2013