A spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy says a new synthetic drug compound has been identified as being involved in three separate deaths of young Iowans. ODCP spokesman, Dale Woolery, says the drug is similar to others that have caused problems. “It is a synthetic drug of the cannabinoid variety, often referred to as fake weed or fake pot. Originally we talked about K-2, it’s like that,” Woolery says.
Woolery says the Iowa Poison Control Center says the three deaths from the drug happened in 2013. He says this drug is known as “5F-PB-22,” which was banned by emergency action of the DEA last week. It adds to the list of dangerous synthetic drugs. “In Iowa we’ve through legislation and rule have about 46 different compounds that are banned as far as synthetic drugs are concerned,” Woolery says.
He says efforts continue locally and nationally to continue to try and ban the drugs. Woolery says one problem is the manufacturers change one ingredient and repackage the drugs once they get banned. “The chemistry may change, the names may change, even the packaging may change — but what people wind up using has the same affect on them, and it’s not a good affect. It can hurt them and it can kill them,” Woolery says.
He says the best advice he can give Iowans is to keep educating kids about the dangers of these types of drugs. “We will keep working on strengthening laws every which way we can and will try to attack this from every angle,” Woolery says, “but the one thing that all of us can do is to talk with our children, grandchildren, other young children, and convince them to no put something in their body if they don’t know what it is, or if it’s not from a trusted adult.”
Woolery says the kids need to understand that the drugs may be for sale, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. “And we know from research that teenagers who are learning at home about the risks of drugs are 50-percent less likely to ever use drugs,” Woolery says. The three Iowa victims were all under the age of 30.
For more information on synthetic drugs, their use, other warning signs, and how to get help, go to the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy website at:www.iowa.gov/odcp.