TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Bath salts, K-2 and Spice. Synthetic drugs have many names, but now they share one thing in common: they are illegal in Florida.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed an emergency rule on Tuesday outlawing 22 new synthetic drugs, reports the News Service Of Florida.
She said they can cause psychotic episodes, seizures, hallucinations and paranoia.
The emergency order makes it a third-degree felony to sell or manufacture such drugs, and Bondi made it clear the authorities will be watching shopkeepers who ignore the order.
“[If] you’re selling this stuff and you know it’s illegal, you take it off your shelves when you see police officers and you put it back on, we’re coming after you,” she said. “And we will do everything in our power to put you out of business, because you’re no better than a common, street-level drug dealer.”
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the drugs are available in smoke shops, truck stops, convenience stores and through the Internet.
He said retailers who stock them have two options: to surrender their inventory or face enforcement action. Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen warned of the tragedies synthetic drugs can cause.
“Unless you’ve been there and covered a body with a sheet that just jumped off the 14th floor of a condominium because he just went into the Junior store next door and bought some of this and ingested it, it’s hard to understand why we fight, and why we do what we do,” McKeithen said.
Bondi was especially irate that synthetic drugs are often packaged with cartoon characters and brand names designed to appeal to middle school students. “These are marketed to children,” she said, holding up samples from a display. “Batman. The Joker. These are disgusting.”
She vowed to work with the 2013 Legislature to ban the 22 drugs permanently.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)