Medical Examiner Blames Death of Teen on Bath Salts As Florida Law Enforcement Officials Ramp Up Fight Against Synthetic Drugs

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

The Orange-Osceola chief medical examiner ruled on April 5, 2013, that a 17-year-old teen died as the result of an accidental “apparent” overdose on bath salts, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Four teens altogether were found unconscious in an Orange County, Florida, home in February 2013. All the teens reportedly snorted the same bath salts off a $10 bill and all were hospitalized. Although the drug was not found in the teens’ systems, bath salt residue was found on the $10 bill. All four teens were hospitalized, but only three were eventually released. To read the article from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.

Recently, synthetic drugs such as K2, bath salts, spice and potpourri have been publicized for their erratic effects on users. Florida law enforcement, including the Attorney General (AG) are fighting to ban all forms of these drugs. However, the ease of converting these substances into illegal drugs helps illegal drug makers, users and sellers to avoid arrest and prosecution.


St. Petersburg Targets Synthetic Drug Sellers and Users.

On April 4, 2013, the St. Petersburg City Counsel approved a new ordinance that bans the sale, possession and production of synthetic drugs, according to The Tampa Tribune. According to law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg, these synthetic drugs are running rampant among the homeless population, making them a danger to themselves and the public. The ordinance does not criminalize the drugs, but users could face arrest and a fine of up to $500. Click here to read the entire article from The Tampa Tribune.


Orange County Ordered Synthetic Drugs Off of Store Shelves.

St. Petersburg now joins Orange County in its fight against synthetic drugs. In March 2013, Orange County local authorities asked Central Florida convenience-store owners to remove these synthetic drugs from store shelves. Anyone who sells, manufactures or delivers the synthetic drugs could be charged with a third-degree felony. Click here to read a blog on the progress of Orange County’s fight against synthetic drugs.


Florida AG Fights Synthetic Drugs.

The Florida AG has worked with state lawmakers to ban dozens of chemical compounds used in synthetic drugs in an attempt to make them illegal. You may remember, on December 11, 2012, the Florida AG filed an emergency rule outlawing 22 new synthetic drugs. This emergency rule modifies Section 893.03(1)(c), Florida Statutes, by expanding the list of synthetic drugs in Schedule I of controlled substances of the Florida Comprehensive Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Click here to read a previous blog on the emergency rule.

The AG warns that these synthetic drugs are marketed toward teenagers and young adults. They can cause psychotic episodes, hallucinations, seizures, paranoia, tremors and other even death. These outlawed substances are commonly purchased at convenience stores, smoke shops, truck stops and on the internet.


Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.
 
The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.
 
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?

Do you think the Florida law enforcement has a handle on synthetic drugs such as K2, bath salts and Spice? Do you think these drugs are as dangerous as they are made out to be? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Sources:

Pavuk, Amy. “Medical Examiner Thinks Bath Salts to Blame for Teen’s Deadly Overdose.” Orlando Sentinel. (April 5, 2013). From: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-bath-salts-overdose-teen-20130405,0,5904006.story

O’Donnell, Christopher. “Ordinance Targets Users and Stores That Sell Synthetic Marijuana.” The Tampa Tribune. (April 4, 2013). From: http://tbo.com/pinellas-county/st-petersburg-bans-synthetic-drugs-b82473826z1

McFarland, Molly. “Attorney General Bondi Urges Students to Stay Away from Synthetic Drugs.” My Florida Legal. (March 8, 2013). From: http://myfloridalegal.com/__852562220065EE67.nsf/0/157EC8A6A5613D9F85257B28005FDC9E?Open&Highlight=0,synthetic,drugs

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.


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4/9/2013

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