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Growing problem of designer drugs - KOAM TV 7

Growing problem of designer drugs

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GROVE, OKLAHOMA -

Federal agents were breaking down doors this week to confiscate more than $36 million worth of synthetic drugs from 31 states.  An emergency room doctor in Grove, Oklahoma says two years ago he rarely saw synthetic drug cases in the emergency room.  Now, he sees them two to three times a week.

"It's becoming a bigger problem," says Dr. F.C. Eaton of Integris Grove.  "We're seeing an increase in the number of cases that seem to be coming through."

Since there is no blood or urine test in the emergency room, doctors look for obvious symptoms in patients like hyper or erratic behavior.  But usually they must wait and hear it from the patient themselves.

"It's generally a younger generation, they're scared and you start quizzing them, and come to find out that's what they've taken," says Dr. Eaton.

The lack of an immediate test has not only caused problems for emergency room doctors, it's also caused problems for law enforcement as well.  While drugs like marijuana or cocaine can be tested for immediately, synthetic drugs can not.

"Smells like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's usually a duck, but that's not good enough for a core system, so we have it tested, and that takes time," says Sgt. John Marrow of the Grove Police Department.

Grove police say the way to combat this problem is two fold:  education and getting it off of the shelf.

"Our administration has plans in the future of offering training of all emergency personal to help to recognize the symptoms of those people using so we're better able to serve our citizens," says Sgt. Marrow.

With task forces across the nation cracking down and educating the public on this drug officials say hopefully its harmful usage will soon be in decline.

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