Too Vague to Be Constitutional Two indecipherable criminal laws passed in the 1980s now face scrutiny at the Supreme Court.

The legal philosopher Lon Fuller once invented an earnest monarch named Rex who discovered many wrong ways to make law. First, Rex wrote a detailed code of laws, but, to avoid confusing the public, kept it secret. “To Rex’s surprise this sensible plan was deeply resented by his subjects. They declared it was very unpleasant to have one’s case decided by rules when there was no way of knowing what those rules were,” Fuller wrote. So Rex refined his code even further and made it public. But its detail and precision made it “a masterpiece of obscurity.” Soon “a picket appeared before the royal palace carrying a sign that read, ‘How can anybody follow a rule that nobody can understand?’”

Next week the Supreme Court will look at cases in which two criminal defendants make similar pleas. On Monday, a violent neo-Nazi contends that he is facing 15 years in prison under a law that not only he but some of the most learned judges in the country find incomprehensible; the next day, a dealer in “designer drugs,” claims that he is facing prison under a law so complex that its prohibitions are effectively ecret from anyone except skilled chemists.

The neo-Nazi, Samuel Johnson, faces a 15-year minimum sentence under theArmed Career Criminal Act. ACCA provides that any person convicted in federal court of a firearms offense will receive a minimum 15-year sentence if he or she has previously been convicted three times in state or federal court of “a violent felony or a serious drug offense.” As originally passed in 1984, the Act limited the “violent felonies” to crimes in which force was actually used or threatened, or to any robbery or burglary; two years later, Congress made the law even “tougher.” It now specifies that any offense is a “violent felony” if it “is burglary, arson, or extortion, involves use of explosives, or otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

The last part is called the “residual clause.” With admirable restraint, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a decade ago that the clause “is, to put it mildly, not a model of clarity.” In fact, it has tied the federal courts in knots. In the past decade, the Supreme Court has had to settle disputes over whether “violent felony” applies to attempted burglary (no), driving under the influence (no), failure to report for incarceration (no), and intentional flight from law enforcement in a motor vehicle (yes). But confusion persists, with different standards prevailing in different appellate-court jurisdictions. For example, in the Fifth Circuit, reckless assault is “violent,” while in the Sixth, reckless homicide is not. In the Fourth Circuit, battery of a police officer is not “violent,” in the Tenth it is. In the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, fleeing law enforcement on foot is “violent”; in the Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh it is not.

As these crazy results piled up, the Court’s cries for help have grown louder. In 2006, Scalia, dissenting in the attempted burglary case, argued that the Act “violates ... the constitutional prohibition against vague criminal laws.” In 2008, Justice Alito wrote that “only Congress can rescue the federal courts from the mire into which ACCA’s draftsmanship” has thrust it. In 2011, Scalia again urged the Court to admit that ACCA “is a drafting failure and declare it void for vagueness.”

Against this backdrop, Johnson v. United States reached the Court last November. As the head of something called the Aryan Liberation Movement, Johnson boasted to FBI informants that he had, and planned to use, napalm, explosives, an AK-47, 1,100 rounds of ammunition, and silencers. He was convicted of being a “felon in possession” of firearms and ammunition; the district court promoted him to career status because of two previous convictions of robbery and one of possession of a short-barrel (“sawed-off”) shotgun. Before the Court, his federal defender argued that mere “possession” of an illegal weapon was not “purposeful, violent, and aggressive” enough to qualify as a “violent felony.” She asked the Court to add short-barrel possession to the list of felonies that aren’t “violent”; if it did so, she said, “this Court need not get into whether [ACCA] is unconstitutionally vague and the baby should go out with the bath water.”

Police: Drug Use Suspected In Two Local Cases Of “Excited Delirium”

BELLMEAD (April 17, 2015) The use of drugs or synthetic drugs is suspected in two local cases of a potentially deadly medical condition called “excited delirium,” one involving a man found lying naked in the middle of a local road and the other involving a woman found rolling around in the grass and making “random irrational statements,” Bellmead police said Friday.

Excited delirium syndrome “is a serious and potentially deadly medical condition involving psychotic behavior, elevated temperature and an extreme fight-or-flight response by the nervous system,” according to an FBI bulletin.

Just after 6 p.m. on April 8, Bellmead officers responded to a report of the naked man, who was lying in the middle of the street in the 1100 block of Hogan Lane, asking for help, police said Friday.

The man threw off a rain jacket with which one officer tried to cover him, saying he was “burning up,” police said.

“He was rolling around in the street nude acting irrational and making irrational statements,” police said Friday, and appeared to have broken an ankle “as a result of jumping out of a window.”

The man, who was not identified, was taken to a local hospital.

Then just after noon on Monday, police received a report about a woman who was acting “out of it” in the 1800 block of Industrial Boulevard.

She “was making random irrational statements and rolling around in the grass. She also had what appeared to be heavy muscle spasms or fast rigid movements,” police said Friday.

She, too, was taken to a local hospital, police said.

“It is believed that both of these incidents demonstrated excited delirium and potentially as a result of drug use or synthetic drug use,” police said.

One study cited in the FBI bulletin says fatality rates of as much as 10 percent have been reported in cases in which the symptoms of the condition weren’t recognized.

“These patients often die within one hour of police involvement,” the bulletin said.

“Without placing themselves or others at a greater risk for physical harm, officers must be able to rapidly detect symptoms of ExDS and immediately engage EMS for proper diagnosis and medical treatment,” the bulletin said.

Police Seeing Increase in Illnesses from Synthetic Marijuana

Press release from the R.U.S.H. Task Force:

Harrisonburg, VA – The R.U.S.H Drug Task Force has recently seen an increase of illnesses as a result of the consumption of synthetic marijuana.

Since Monday, April 13, the Drug Task Force has been notified of five instances where individuals had a serious reaction to various forms of synthetic marijuana, causing them to be hospitalized.

“Anytime there is a pattern such as this it is vital that we notify the community to remind of the dangers of all drugs, particularly synthetic marijuana,” said Mark Campbell, Supervisory Special Agent with the Virginia State Police.

Often suppliers in other countries will alter the chemicals in synthetic drugs before distribution. The chemicals in synthetic marijuana are not always known to the consumer and have the potential to cause a severe health reaction.

The effects that have been seen this week are: shortness of breath; accelerated heart rate; muscle contractions; and seizure-like symptoms.

“People who may be inclined to use synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs should consider that these substances are not produced under the controlled conditions that legitimate pharmaceuticals are, and that users are at the mercy of unknown suppliers who have no regulatory oversight,” said NazirAdam, MD, emergency physician with Sentara RMH Medical Center. “People need to consider the risks involved and avoid these substances altogether.”

Not only does the R.U.S.H Drug Task Force actively investigate the illegal sale and distribution of synthetic drugs, the office also works to educate and prevent individuals from ever consuming this harmful chemical.

Anyone with information about an individual or business selling synthetic drugs should contact the R.U.S.H. Drug Task Force at 540-434-1229 or

Police experiencing rash of emergencies due to synthetic drugs

SYRACUSE -- A recent rash of overdose complaints involving synthetic drugs has caught the attention of the Syracuse Police Department and Upstate New York Poison Center.

Officers have reported individuals exhibiting bizarre behavior like foaming at the mouth or boxing with vehicles after allegedly ingesting synthetic drugs. A few examples include synthetic cannabinoids like "Spike" and sythetic phenethylamine like bath salts. Most of the the time people do not know what they are actually ingesting, police said.

The Upstate New York Poison Center has also seen a surge in these emergency situations over the last 72 hours. Patients often exhibited the following symptoms: agitation, paranoia, anxiety, tremors, seizures, high blood pressure, high heart rate, hallucinations, and an inability to speak.

While the police department specified "Spike," the poison center added other brands like "Geeked Up", "Caution" or "Keshia Kole."

Both organizations say citizens should be aware of the recent synthetic drug outbreak. Any person with questions is encouraged to call 1-800-222-1222. 

UPDATE: Police Issue Warning About K2 After SC West Senior Dies.

Sioux City, IA (ABC9 News) -  Sioux City Police are warning people about the possibly fatal side effects of a smokeable synthetic drug known as K2 after a Sioux City West senior died Thursday night.  Austin McCloud, 18, died as a result of smoking K2, according to a family friend who spoke with ABC9 News.  Coming up tonight on ABC9 News at Six Austin's mother, Tammy Summers talks with Jenna Rehnstrom about the tragic events of the last 24 hours.

According to Sioux City Police spokesperson Jeremy McClure, authorities received a call concerning a report of a sick party at War Eagle Park at about 11:06 pm Thursday.  Four people were transported to local hospitals for treatment after some of them reported ingesting a smokeable synthetic drug.  A short time later, McCloud died while being treated.  Police say the exact cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is conducted.  As of Friday afternoon, three other people are being treated at a local hospital and their status is not known.  The ages of the people involved in the matter range from 16-18.

McClure says this is an ongoing investigation and more information will be released as it is available.

Sioux City, IA (ABC9 News) - A West High School senior has died Thursday night, just weeks away from graduating.

Austin McCloud, 18, died Thursday night as a result of smoking synthetic marijuana know as K2, according to a family friend who spoke with ABC9 News.

To help pay for the funeral expenses, friends have started a GoFundMe account.

Alison Benson, Director of Communications and Community Engagement for the Sioux City School District, says the school held a moment of silence this morning in honor of Austin.

Additional counselors have been made available for students to speak with at West High School.

Nearly 100 hospitalized with issues linked to synthetic drug


Alabama public health officials say nearly 100 people have been hospitalized for issues linked to synthetic marijuana known as "spice."

The Alabama Department of Public Health said in a statement Wednesday that at least 98 people have been hospitalized in the past month with symptoms linked to spice use.

Spice, also known as K2, is a mixture of herbs and spices that are mixed with chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana, according to the DEA. Federal officials say users smoke the synthetic drug in joints or pipes and also make it into tea.

Department of Public Health officials say the long-term health impacts of using spice are unclear since the substances aren't used in mainstream medicine.

Officials say rapid heart rate, vomiting and hallucinations are among the symptoms.

Synthetic Drug "Spice" Sends Teens to the Hospital

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A synthetic drug known as "spice" sent more than 15 teens to the hospital recently. Law enforcement officials are now responding with a warning. 

"This was a very bad weekend and it was certainly a very large problem over the weekend, and we saw numerous cases," said Dr. Neil Roy, vice chairman, emergency department, Meritus Medical Center. 

The patients all experienced overdose symptoms from the drug such as agitation, difficulty breathing, nausea and in two cases, the patients had to be placed on a ventilator. 

"We received numerous reports of individuals that were coming into Meritus Medical Center suffering from overdose symptoms from synthetic marijuana or...spice," said Carly Hose, public information officer, Washington County Sheriff's Office. 

Officials explained that spice is composed of herbs that are sprayed with a chemical compound that mimics the effects of THC - the active ingredient in marijuana. 

“The problem with that is that the substance they're spraying on the leaf can mimic any number of substances like cocaine, methamphetamine - and what's happening is, the responses are terribly unpredictable. People are getting very, very sick," Roy said.

Law enforcement officials said kids are getting spice by either ordering online from places outside the U.S., or hand to hand transactions, similar to how other illegal drugs are purchased. 

“As to why this is - you have with marijuana them thinking, 'well this is a safer route to marijuana because it's man-made, its chemical based,'" Hose added. "You also hear that when it comes down to drug testing, this particular synthetic drug doesn't show up on drug testing where marijuana does."

Law enforcement officials said that spice is very dangerous due to its ingredients that vary from manufacturers and batch-to-batch. They said it's almost impossible to predict the reaction someone's body may have to the drug. 

Investigators are working to locate where this particular brand of spice is coming from in order to prevent the supply from growing and becoming sustainable in the county. 

The Backstory You Really Need To Know About Flakka And Other Synthetic Drugs

The street drug called “flakka” is grabbing headlines as the latest synthetic scourge causing users to spin off in bouts of violence and otherwise insane behavior.  Florida is the setting of multiple flakka episodes, with users allegedly displaying bizarre physical strength and fearlessness. One man in Palm Beach County climbedatop an apartment roof, naked, while waving a gun. Another man in Fort Lauderdale tried kicking down the front door of a police department.

We’ll continue seeing more examples like these, and while there’s no question they are alarming, the truth is they’re relatively small waves radiating from a looming tsunami. The real story isn’t flakka or other uniquely named drugs; it’s the relentless synthetic-drug manufacturing machine that outmaneuvers every law enforcement strategy devised to stop it. And to understand that machine, it’s useful to understand the backstory of its products.

Each new drug bubbling up from the bottomless synthetic cauldron is a chemical variant – a slightly different assembly of molecules that produces similar effects to its predecessors without exactly replicating their composition.  In the case of flakka, the chemical alpha-PVP is a variant of the psychoactive stimulant methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a mainstay ingredient in the infamous “bath salts” genre of street synthetics.

As I discussed in a previous article on Forbes, MDPV and its cousin, mephedrone, are synthetic variants of an organic class of stimulants called cathinones, found in a plant called khat that is native to the Middle East and East Africa. Khat leaves have been chewed for centuries to deliver a shade of the same jolt synthetic users are seeking in the grains and powders of today’s designer drugs. (Many Americans became acquainted with khat from the 2013 movie Captain Phillips — it’s the plant the Somali pirates are chewing through much of the action.) Synthetic repackaging of cathinone molecules has been the focus of lab experiments since the 1930s.

All of the drugs mentioned above are Schedule 1-labeled substances in the parlance of the U.S. DEA, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse…the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Flakka’s key ingredient is one of the latest to make the list.

The Schedule 1 designation includes many other notorious drugs like heroin, meth, and—notably—MDMA, better known as ecstasy. MDMA is itself a chemical variant of stimulants first developed in post-War Japan to boost productivity.

Over the years, synthetic manufactures have changed their chemical recipes to skirt the latest Schedule 1 definitions while delivering more acute effects. In nearly all cases the drugs are designed to breach the blood-brain barrier (the brain’s protective chemical firewall) and tweak neurochemical functions, such as blocking the reuptake of the “excitatory” neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine – which produces a sort of electrically-charged euphoria.  This effect is a toxic amplification of effects inherent to certain psychotherapeutic drugs. The antidepressant drug bupropion, for example, is also a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.

That’s an important point to remember about synthetics that’s usually lost in sensationalized news stories: many of the chemical variants are rooted in drugs initially conceived as psychotherapeutics.  Someone in a lab developed the original drugs to solve a problem. What we see in several street synthetics are chemically tweaked Frankenstein derivatives of drugs that credentialed lab researchers, in some cases quite recently, thought were good ideas.

Unlike regulated psychotherapeutic drugs, however, synthetics are often cut with a scary mix of substances—everything from matchstick phosphorous to athlete’s foot powder—and are not sold with dosing instructions. Snorting, smoking or injecting a full package of bath salts or flakka, or any other synthetic, could be enough for a given user to overdose.

And users can’t rely on the drugs’ manufactures for help with knowing what’s inside the package. The drugs aren’t labeled with ingredients lists, just the disclaimer “Not for human consumption” to avoid detection by law enforcement (though it’s hard to believe anyone would take that disclaimer seriously at this point). Knowing exactly what’s in the powder or crystals is impossible without a lab test.

The efficacy of the original drugs (be they organic or synthetic) is debatable, but the profitability of their derivatives is beyond dispute. These drugs deliver a potent effect that people have sought for a very long time, and the longevity of that market provides enormous incentive for manufacturers to keep churning out variants. And the hard truth is that no matter how many new acronyms are added to the Schedule 1 list, we are well behind the learning curve on how to beat the problem.  According to a recent report on the HBO news show Vice, there are at least 160,000 synthetic drug labs operating in China alone, and those are just the ones we know about. That’s 160,000 or more labs pumping synthetic drugs into the market at a pace we’re only starting to fathom.

Right now it’s flakka; soon it’ll be another quirky named synthetic, and then another. This tsunami started gaining momentum long ago and it’s only getting bigger. Knowing that law enforcement will never have the resources to get ahead of the problem, the best policy is to get the word out (especially to teenagers, the prime market for many of the drugs) that synthetics are unregulated hodgepodges of toxic chemicals and straight-up poison to the brain.

Flakka attack new synthetic drug joins list spanning LSD and Molly

"Flakka," a new designer drug luring some young Americans, is even more potent and more addictive than its synthetic predecessors, which long skirted the law, experts say.

On the street, it's also called "gravel" for its white, crystal chunks. In the lab, it's known as a stimulant, part of a chemical class called cathinones, with the amphetamine-like effects of Molly and Ecstasy. In the media it's been dubbed "the insanity drug."

Indeed, flakka has fueled a recent, bizarre a spate of public behavior, all occurring in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On April 4, a man who had smoked flakka ran naked in the streets, claiming people had stolen his clothes. In March, a man on flakka impaled himself on a spiked fence outside the police station. He survived. In February, a man on flakka tried to kick in the police station door, claiming cars were chasing him.

"This is bad stuff," said epidemiologist James N. Hall, co-director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Substance Abuse at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

"The biggest danger is these are guinea pig drugs and the users are like lab rats."

Flakka simulates the effects of the khat plant, which grows in Somalia and in the Middle East. Experts say that in high doses, it can cause an "excited delirium," during which a user's body temperature can rise to as high as 105 degrees. It can also create heart problems like tachycardia and life-threatening kidney failure.

"Some get high and some get very sick and may become addicted," Hall said. "Some go crazy and even a few die. But they don't know what they are taking or what's going to happen to them."

In 2013 alone, cathinones, created in China and sold over the Internet, caused 123 deaths in Florida, according to the United Way of Broward County Commission on Substance Abuse.

Flakka, which can be crushed and snorted, swallowed or injected, is peddled under many brand names, including the less-potent cathinone,"Molly." Flakka is often mixed with other drugs like methamphetamine.

Ecstasy or MDMA is a different class of chemical altogether, but Molly, though often touted as "pure" MDMA, is a first-generation cathinone. Because flakka is sold under so many different brand names, including "Molly," users can be fooled, not knowing the potency of this new synthetic drug.

Flakka is "very dose specific," said Hall. "Just a little (of it) delivers the high effect. It produces energy to dance and euphoria. But just a little more — and you can't tell by looking at the capsule or baggie."

Its name comes from the Spanish word "flaco" for thin. Latinos also use "la flaca" as a clubbing term for a pretty, skinny girl.

Spelled "flakka," it's "an eloquent collegial term — a beautiful, skinny woman who charms all she meets," said Hall. "They give [synthetic drugs] names that are hip and cool and making it great for sales."

Flakka emerged in South Florida last year, and has been seen in parts of Texas and Ohio, but is still not illegal in many states, according to Hall.

Fears rise over synthetic drugs crisis

The abuse of synthetic drugs is a well-worn story in the United States — the largest consumer market of illicit drugs, according to Dr. Guohua Li, an epidemiologist and founding director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University.

"Each generation is exposed to different drugs of choice," Li said. "The signature substances and their particular effects become a unique feature of the birth cohort."

"Designer drugs must stay ahead of the authorities and medical communities to keep their illegal business afloat," Li added.

In the 1940s, a Swiss chemist synthesized a drug from the ergot fungus and discovered the psychedelic properties of lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD. But in 1966, after Timothy Leary urged a generation to, "turn on, tune in, drop out," the drug was made illegal.

In the 1980s, the all-night rave scene gave birth to the synthetic drug MDMA or ecstasy, giving users the euphoric high of amphetamines and the psychedelic effects of hallucinogens.

By the 1990s, the scourge of lab-produced meth appeared on the West Coast and increased in popularity throughout a decade.

Synthetic marijuana dubbed K2 or Spice, emerged in 2006, and was eventually banned in 2011.

At the same time, MDMA, which is a phenethylamine, saw a resurgence, but by 2010, synthetic cathinones — "bath salts" and the drug Molly — arrived on the club scene.

But now, use of MDMA has tapered off, due to the growing popularity of flakka, which costs only about $5 a dose.

"It's emerging as the crack cocaine of 2015 with its severe effects high addiction rate for a low cost," said Hall. "People are terrified of the drug. It's because the consequences are so devastating."

Three die in Monroe County of heroin overdoses in 24 hours

Three people in Monroe County have died of heroin overdoses in a 24-hour period, and authorities believe tainted drugs could be circulating in the area.

Monroe County Sheriff ’s Maj. Jeff Kemp said the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has issued a public safety warning after fentanyl-laced heroin was discovered on streets in southeast Michigan communities.

Maj. Kemp said because three men died in such a short time frame, including two at the same Bedford Township motel, he believes fentanyl might be mixed in with the heroin.

“We had three heroin overdose deaths in one shift, and I can’t remember if that’s ever happened before,” he said. “It’s killing them instantly.”

All three victims were discovered Tuesday. Two — a 31-year-old man from LaSalle and a 33-year-old man from Temperance — were found around 11 a.m. in the same Bedford Township motel, but they were in separate rooms and the victims apparently did not know each other. The third, 35, was found at 7:15 a.m. in a trailer at the Frenchtown Villa Mobile Home Park.

Maj. Kemp said all three subjects injected themselves with heroin and died immediately. All three were found in bathrooms, and their bodies have been sent to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies to determine if fentanyl was a factor.

Lt. Marc Moore of the Monroe Area Narcotics Team & Investigative Services (MANTIS) said it is possible the two deaths in the motel on S. Telegraph Rd. were coincidental. Although the presence of fentanyl is another possibility, he said so far he has not seen solid evidence of its existence here.

“I have nothing that leads me to believe that fentanyl was involved,” Lt. Moore said. “I haven’t seen any in Monroe yet.”

Fentanyl has been on the market for decades as a prescription painkiller, and it is 80 times more potent than morphine. Dealers have been known to mix it with heroin to increase potency and product. In 2005 there was a rash of fentanyl deaths in southeast Michigan but only two in Monroe County were attributed to the painkiller.

Kim Comerzan, director of the Monroe County Health Department, said she has not yet seen evidence of fentanyl in overdose deaths here this year. In 2014 there were about 40 deaths attributed to drug overdoses, a yearslong, higher-than-normal trend.

“We’re still seeing high numbers,” Ms. Comerzan said. “We have not seen them starting to fall.”

Up to 60 deaths in Wayne and Washtenaw counties have been blamed on fentanyl this year, and many believe it could be making its way south to Monroe. Sheriff Dale Malone said drug users need to be extremely cautious, and those who know people who use heroin should warn them about the possibility of the presence of fentanyl in heroin.

Having three overdose deaths in Monroe County in one day is unusual and should be a warning that heroin could be tainted with fentanyl, Maj. Kemp said.

“It showed up here in the past and it’s a problem all over,” he said. “They’re taking a risk.”

Anyone who wishes to report drug activity is encouraged to contact the drug unit MANTIS at 734-240-2605.

• DEA Issues Nationwide Alert on Fentanyl as Threat to Health and Public Safety (click here)

Flakka: The New Designer Drug You Need To Know About

A man rushes out of his house in Miami last month, ripping his clothes off in a rage, screaming violently, after smoking a crystal-like drug. Five police officers are required to take him down as he exhibits superhuman strength. He is sweating, paranoid, delusional and hallucinating about seeing objects in front of him.

The behavior described above, known as “excited delirium”, is the result of emerging use of a new synthetic amphetamine-like stimulant that is similar to the compound contained in bath salts, also known as cathinones.

The drug is called “Flakka”, and if you are the parent of a teen, it’s important to educate yourself about this new designer drug.

Use of the drug have been reported primarily in Florida, Texas, and Ohio, but the drug is likely making its way into many other cities.

While the synthetic stimulant contained in Flakka, alpha -PVP, was banned and labeled a Schedule 1 drug by the U.S DEA in early 2014, there was not a wide scale dissemination of this information in the lay press. Other more commonly abused bath salts of the cathinone class–such as MDPV–were more widely publicized when a federal ban was instituted in 2011.  According to the DEA, Schedule 1 status signifies those substances with a high potential for abuse, lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision, along with no currently accepted use for treatment in the US.

But since underground drug suppliers realize that bans by the DEA are an ongoing practice, they always seem to be one step ahead, making new versions of previously banned drugs. And such will likely be the case with Flakka.

Flakka, which comes in crystalline rock form, can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or used in an e- cigarette and vaped. The duration of the effects of the drug can last as few as 3-4 hours, but can also linger for several days. The drug is highly addictive, both from a physical as well as a psychological perspective.

Because of the ability to place it into a cartridge and vape it, the drug can easily be concealed in public, allowing many to use it without raising any suspicions.

Flakka is produced from a compound known as alpha-PVP, synthetically derived and made from an amphetamine-like derivative of the drug, cathinone.

The khat plant, which grows in parts of the Middle East as well as Somalia, is the source of cathinones. The leaves of the plant are often chewed to achieve euphoria or a high.

While other designer drugs such as molly or ectasy, which contain MDMA, a psychedelic, have grown in popularity over the past decade, Flakka represents a new trend which could lead to greater harm to those seeking altered states of consciousness.

The reason lies behind the mechanism of the drug as a re-uptake inhibitor of dopamine and norepinephrine—important chemicals for nerve transmission—leading to a more prolonged effect, typically referred to as “excited delirium.”

Under normal functioning, the chemicals are taken back up by cells after they are released. But Flakka blocks this mechanism for reuptake, leading to a concentrated and prolonged effect of dopamine and serotonin, known as a state of “excited delirium.”

During this state, body temperature can rapidly elevate to as high as 105-106 degrees Fahrenheit, triggering a cascade of events which could also lead to kidney damage and failure as a result of rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis results from the breakdown of muscle and can release a chemical called CPK, or creatine phosphokinase, which can damage the kidneys.

The physiologic effects of Flakka trigger severe anxiety, paranoia, and delusions, leading to a psychotic state, characterized by a surge of violence associated increased strength and loss of awareness of reality and surroundings.

One of the chief concerns of Flakka is that the suppliers–typically from China, Pakistan and India– as well as users often do not know what is actually contained in the drug when it is sold on the streets. Transactions by lower level suppliers are often made online, then reaching the streets where is it repackaged in capsules or made available for vaping. Lacking purity, it may be combined or cut with anything from heroin to cocaine, or even sprinkled with cannabis.

According to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Flakka cases are significantly increasing from no reported cases in 2010 to 85 cases in 2012, and now greater than 670 in 2014. No statistics are available on reported cases in 2015 thus far.

The Fort Lauderdale Police Department, according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel, is creating a specialized task force loosely known as the “Flakka Initiative” to work with local agencies as well as the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about the increasing use of the drug.

In addition, the Sun-Sentinel reports that the Palm Beach County Substance Abuse Awareness Coalition is launching a special website next month that warns people not to be guinea pigs when it comes to these dangerous drugs. The website,, will be an educational portal about the potential effects of using such designer drugs.

Dangerous New Illegal Drug "Flakka" Sweeping Florida

A new synthetic drug with the street name "flakka," which causes hallucinations, paranoia and violent outbursts, has taken off in Florida, where authorities are seeing a spike in criminal activity and bizarre behavior linked to the drug, reports say.

Flakka's recent casualties include a gunman yelling naked from a rooftop in Palm Beach County and a man in Fort Lauderdale impaled on a police station fence he was attempting to scale, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Both men told authorities they were high on flakka and hallucinating at the time of the incidents.

A successor to so-called designer drugs such as crystal meth and ecstasy, which are manufactured in illegal laboratories, flakka produces a surge of euphoria and acute sensory alertness by flooding the brain with a chemical called dopamine, experts say. 

It can be smoked, inhaled, injected or laced into other drugs such as marijuana, and at $5 a hit it is considered cheap and easy to acquire in bulk from labs overseas.

The side effects and after-effects are potentially deadly, Jim Hall, an epidemiologist at the Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County, Florida, told CBS News.

"We're starting to see a rash of cases of a syndrome referred to as excited delirium," said Hall. "This is where the body goes into hyperthermia, generally a temperature of 105 degrees. The individual becomes psychotic, they often rip off their clothes and run out into the street violently and have an adrenaline-like strength, and police are called and it takes four or five officers to restrain them. Then, once they are restrained, if they don't receive immediate medical attention, they can die."

Hall also dubbed flakka "a guinea pig drug" because, unlike the manufacturer, neither the user nor the down-the-line dealer knows for certain that flakka is what's being consumed — or, if it is flakka, what is the potency of the dose.

But flakka — also called "gravel" because it comes in tiny, rocklike pieces — is clearly circulating in ever greater amounts, even as episodes involving the much more infamous club drug ecstasy, or "molly," are starting to decline, say authorities.

Florida crime labs went from zero flakka cases in 2010 to 85 in 2012 and to more than 670 in 2014, the Sun Sentinel reports, citing Drug Enforcement Administration figures.

Flakka comes from the same strain of lab-made chemical that was cooked into "bath salts," a once-trendy designer drug that was banned by the federal government in 2012.

The synthetic stimulants in flakka and bath salts, known as cathinones, imitate a natural stimulant found in the chewable, buzz-inducing leaves of khat plants that grow in Africa and the Middle East.

Like crystal meth, flakka is also highly addictive. 

"On a scale of one to 10, Flakka is a 12," Lt. Dan Zsido of the Pinellas County, Fla., Sheriff's Office told CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 News in St. Petersburg. 

DEA warns Heroin suppliers mixing in powerful narcotic

INDIANAPOLIS -Heroin is potent and addictive all on its own, but the DEA warns that some suppliers are coupling heroin with another powerful narcotic: fentanyl.

"When people add fentanyl to a medication, there is a sense in which they're taking it and putting it on steroids," according to Scott Watson with Heartland Intervention. "The combination is suspected in overdose deaths across the country."

Often, the victims have no idea their heroin was mixed with the drug 100 times more powerful than morphine.

"The heroin epidemic is real," said Dr. David O'Donnel with Indianapolis EMS.

At the Statehouse Wednesday, lawmakers heard testimony on the effectiveness of last year's legislation allowing first responders to administer the heroin antidote Narcan in the field.

"IMPD officers have saved over 65 individuals using this medication," the doctor said.

Now, the push is on to expand the law to allow civilians to administer Narcan to loved ones who have overdosed.

"If Susan and I had Narcan in our possession, we could've first administered it when we first found Leland on the floor," testified a father who lost his son to overdose.

"Every life is important," added Brandon, a former addict. "Everyone deserves a second chance. And I have witnessed more friends than I can count on two hands be buried because of this evil drug."

Justin Phillips' son Aaron died of an overdose in 2013. She said there's confusion about the Narcan Bill, which is called "Aaron's Law."

"If you give someone permission to have no locks on access, that means you're giving them permission to use heroin again. And that is not the case at all."

But can Narcan work against a powerful combination of heroin and fentanyl? Watson says yes, but, "What will we get just out of using Narcan, or is there a longer-term treatment plan that comes with it?"

Warning over powerful designer drug NBOMe, aka N-Bomb, after Bristol man dies

POLICE are linking the death of a man in Bristol to a powerful designer drug.

Officers issued a warning today about NBOMe, also known as N-Bomb, which is a hallucinogen similar in appearance and effect to LSD, after a man in his 20s died in Totterdown at the weekend.

Avon and Somerset police say they are waiting for the results of toxicology tests to confirm the man's exact cause of death but have issued the warning because of suspicions that the Class A drug, which was outlawed last year, was involved.

No other details about the man who died have been released at this stage.

Drug advisory service Frank describes N-Bombs as powerful hallucinogens with a similar effect to LSD, taken for the change in perception they produce.

But aside from the psychological effects of bad trips, the drug has also been observed by doctors to produce an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which in "extreme cases" can lead to heart failure.

A police spokesman said: "We are reminding people of the high risk of using NBOMe, which became a Class A drug last year.

"It follows the death of a man in Totterdown over the weekend. It is possible that he may have been using the drug, although toxicology tests to determine the cause of death will not be known for several weeks.

"It is rare for the drug to take the form of capsules because of its strength. Its normal dose is minute and even small quantities can prove lethal.

"We have already reminded drug users and drug service organisations of the potential danger of NBOMe because of its strength."

The spokesman said there had been several seizures of NBOMe in Bristol over the past 18 months.

He added: "NBOMe produces effects that can last between six and ten hours, if taken sublingually (under the tongue) or orally and includes the following effects - euphoria, mental/physical stimulation, feelings of love/empathy, change in consciousness, unusual body sensations and can have highly negative effects such as confusion, shaking, nausea, insomnia, paranoia and unwanted feelings."

Possession of NBOMe can lead to a sentence of up to seven years' jail, while penalties for supplying the drug range from eight years in jail to a life sentence, according to Frank.

State to consider bills targeting synthetic drugs

Since 15-year-old Montana Brown’s death on Dec. 14, 2013, Frisco father Eric Brown has dedicated his life to spreading awareness about 25I-NBOMe, the synthetic hallucinogen responsible for his son’s death. And finally, it seems like the Texas Legislature is listening.

After hearing tearful testimony from Brown in Austin on March 10, the state Senate Committee on Criminal Justice put its stamp of approval on several pieces of legislation, including Senate Bill (SB) 172, a bill that would make it a felony to possess, manufacture or distribute NBOMe compounds. It will now be considered by the full Senate.

“My son did receive justice through the federal system, but imagine my shock and horror when I learned in January that there were no laws in Texas covering this [drug],” Brown said. “If you’re having to play catch up to the U.S. government, you’re in a world of hurt. Texas should be leading, not following the rest of the herd on this. I hope what is accomplished here will set a precedent for the rest of our nation and, hopefully, for our federal government.”

Marketed as a synthetic version of LSD or acid, NBOMe has had deadly consequences across the state, with the Dec. 20 death of Plano teen Evan Johnson being a recent reminder of the danger of the designer drug.

“Hopefully the fear of a felony punishment will prevent other teens from buying these synthetic substances,” said Leslie Cherryholmes, Johnson’s mother. “Dying from using the drug is significantly worse than a felony conviction. Perhaps a few felony convictions would discourage essentially good kids from trying this drug.”

Although NBOMe compounds are banned by the Department of State Health Services through its schedule of controlled substances, prosecutors are only able to pursue misdemeanor charges.

Authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman, SB 172 would add 25I-NBOMe and its chemical cousins to the Texas Controlled Substances Act Penalty Group 1-A, which carries felony punishment.

“It’s really an epidemic that’s affecting the young people of our state with deadly consequences,” Huffman told the committee. “Teens and young people everywhere are overdosing and, in the worst cases, dying from ingesting this non-punishable drug.”

Early last year, the Department of Public Safety crime laboratory reported more than 54 cases where NBOMe was identified. Under current law, none of these cases could be effectively prosecuted.

“The code we’ve been trying to crack is how to have a bill that would last through these people that are trying to trick the system,” Huffman said.

Sen. Juan Hinojosa agreed, and said that since chemicals are constantly changing in the producers’ attempts to skirt the law, it’s important to come up with effective language to deal with these compounds on a broader basis.

“I want to make it clear that this is not just an urban issue,” said Sen. Charles Perry. “This has been going on in Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene … I’m committed to do whatever it takes to bring this to conclusion at a level where it’s unprofitable, unpopular and costly both of criminal and penalty nature going forward because this has become a plight. In my area, it’s a real problem.”

The committee also supported SB 173, a bill authored by Huffman that targets synthetic marijuana, popularly known as K2 or Spice. While a 2011 law prohibited certain forms of these drugs, the new bill seeks to ban any compound that includes the banned substances among its ingredients.

If the Senate votes in favor of the bills, they will go to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“In many states that do a line item of these types of substances, it’s like a game of Whac-A-Mole,” Brown said. “Our Legislature only meets every two years, and things can pop up. … We need emergency scheduling powers in Texas. Right now we have to wait 31 days once the feds make a substance a Schedule I … until we can adopt that in Texas, and that process doesn’t automatically happen at 31 days.”

Brown said that the federal government classified NBOMe as a Schedule I drug 29 days before Montana’s death, and that it took more than 120 days to get it scheduled in Texas.

“It’s not that we want our Legislature to meet every year, but we’ve got to have something to deal with synthetic drugs,” he said. “Something’s got to change.”

After hearing about the drug-related deaths of Montana and Johnson, state Sen. Van Taylor has authored SB 1582, or Montana’s Law, to change the culture in Texas.

“My heart goes out to the Brown and Johnson families,” Taylor said. “I have worked very closely with Montana’s parents on this bill, and it’s our belief that Montana’s Law will send a clear message to criminals who design and manufacture synthetic drugs that they will no longer find safe harbor in Texas from outdated state laws to classify and schedule dangerous drugs.”

Taylor said Montana’s Law, filed March 12, will take away the legal loophole that synthetic drug producers currently exploit in Texas and will give law enforcement the authority to arrest and charge individuals who manufacture or distribute illegal drugs.

Synthetic drug designers have been able to effectively skirt the law by creating variations of drugs the state has declared illegal. This problem is magnified in Texas, where the Legislature only meets for 180 days in odd-numbered years. Taylor said the Legislature has made several attempts to update state law to make all new drugs created during the previous two years illegal.

“Montana’s Law would allow the Texas Department of State Health Services to temporarily classify a dangerous drug as illegal, subject to the approval of the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, once the Food and Drug Administration has declared it illegal and other criteria are met,” he said. “Once session reconvenes, the Legislature would have to vote to make the change permanent.”

Unlike Huffman’s bills, which focus on specific classes of chemicals, Taylor’s bill would cover “everything,” Brown said.

“The way Huffman has written her bill, some chemist might find a way to skirt the law,” he said. “Taylor says if it acts on those brain receptors or it acts like a Schedule I class drug, then it is a Schedule I class drug and prosecutable.

“Huffman’s is a narrower net contemplating everything we know based on what might come in the future. Taylor’s is the whole net, in case we miss anything. … So if something appears that we’ve never contemplated as a Legislature and it’s acting as a Schedule I, we will have the power to schedule and criminalize it so it’s off the streets and not killing kids.”

Drug awareness seminar to be held for parents


Parents are invited to attend a seminar Thursday night to learn ‘The Truth about Drugs'. 

Seminary Middle School is hosting the program at its multi-purpose building. The school said it'll help parents learn what drugs look like including designer drugs that are being marketed to their children. The audience will hear from a judge, the police, and recovered drug addicts.

“We just want to make sure that we're doing our part to raise awareness about drugs in the community, not necessarily that we think we have a drug problem or anything like that, we just want to make sure that there is some awareness so that parents can be able to tell if there is a situation where they might need to be educated on,” said Principal Jon Chancelor.

The seminar will start at 6 p.m. Anyone is welcomed to attend

During spring break, police use social media to warn about synthetic marijuana

As more people use social media in their everyday lives, local police departments are reaching out to teens and parents about the dangers of drugs during spring break.

The Rio Grande City Police Department warned teens and others about synthetic marijuana and whip-its with a public service announcement.

Teens and young adults use these drugs more this time of year, Police Chief Noe Castillo said.

"Summer is when kids have more time to do stuff, so we're going to try to get into the schools a little more," said Castillo.

He said the synthetic marijuana packaging can fool parents.

"If somebody sees it in a backpack or something, you’ll think they’re gummy bears or some other type of candy," said Castillo.

Drivers also are using whip-its while on the road, according to Castillo

Castillo said the metal pieces can be found along the road after drivers throw the items out of the vehicles.

To avoid issues with drugs and teens, police encourage parents to ask their children if they have seen anything suspicious at schools or with friends.

He said synthetic marijuana is hard to identify.

"You kind of oversee it because all our busy lives what’s going on in their lives,” said Castillo. “We need to catch it before it gets worse."

The dangers that could follow are seizures and even brain damage.

Castillo said synthetic marijuana is laced with multiple chemicals, and it can take one high to end your life.

"It can change someone's life forever,” said Castillo.

The Rio Grande Police Department ordered around 50 kits to test for the drugs.

Castillo said it is difficult since the ingredients to make the synthetic pot constantly changes.

Australia to plead for UN help in dealing with the drug ice

AUSTRALIA will plead for action on the drug ice at a global conference this week.

Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash will urge this week's United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs conference in Vienna to come up with strategies to stop the trade, distribution and manufacture of synthetic drugs including methamphetamine.

Ms Nash said ice and other psychoactive substances are becoming a major issue for health authorities and police.

"When I talk to people around Australia, and regional people in particular, I hear terrible stories about the effect ice has had on the lives of users, their families and friends," she said.

"Ice carries a casual name but is a deadly drug - it devastates lives and families.

"This is an issue which has touched so many Australians and I'm determined to do all I can to tackle issues of drug abuse and stamp out use of drugs such as ice."


Indiana attorney general's office appeals synthetic drugs ruling

NDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Attorney General's Office is appealing two rulings striking down part of the state's ban on synthetic drugs.

In similar decisions in two cases on Jan. 27, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a portion of Indiana's synthetic drug ban was unconstitutional because its definition of which substances are illegal is too hard to find in some cases.

The statute bans more than 80 chemical compounds and their lookalikes, plus any substance declared a synthetic drug by the Indiana Pharmacy Board. The Court of Appeals struck down the Pharmacy Board portion of the prohibition. The Attorney General's Office appeals those ruling to the Indiana Supreme Court late last week.

“The statute is designed to be flexible and allow the Board of Pharmacy to update the banned synthetics list because the man-made nature of these drugs allows manufacturers to come up with endless new versions of these deadly products,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

“The result is continued access to these drugs, which creates in young people the tragic misconception that synthetics sold at the retail level are safer than the traditional drugs they are designed to mimic. We cannot afford to take a step backward and allow more youth to get their hands on these poisons.”

Legislation currently pending in the Indiana House would clarify where banned drugs can be found online and in state code.

AG Zoeller urges Supreme Court to reinstate Indiana’s synthetic drug ban

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn two Indiana Court of Appeals’ decisions that recently struck down a portion of the state’s ban on synthetic drugs.

In similar decisions in two cases on Jan. 27, 2015, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a portion of Indiana’s synthetic drug ban was unconstitutional because its definition of what substances are illegal is too hard to find in some circumstances. The statute bans a list of more than 80 chemical compounds in addition to their look-alikes, as well as any substance declared a synthetic drug by the Board of Pharmacy. It is the latter set of drugs that are the subject of these appeals. The State filed its appeals of these rulings on Feb. 26.

“The statute is designed to be flexible and allow the Board of Pharmacy to update the banned synthetics list because the man-made nature of these drugs allows manufacturers to come up with endless new versions of these deadly products,” Zoeller said. “The result is continued access to these drugs, which creates in young people the tragic misconception that synthetics sold at the retail level are safer than the traditional drugs they are designed to mimic. We cannot afford to take a step backward and allow more youth to get their hands on these poisons.”

The use of synthetic drugs has increased dramatically in recent years, with the first reports of synthetic drugs appearing in the U.S. around 2009. Poison control centers across the country received 2,668 calls about exposures to synthetic drugs in 2013 and 3,677 exposures in 2014. According to a 2014 Indiana University study, nearly 14 percent of high school seniors in Indiana say they have tried synthetic marijuana. Synthetic drugs come in many different forms and when ingested, the substances cause serious and harmful effects that can be deadly.

State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) is the author of Indiana’s original synthetic drug ban, which first became law in 2012. In response to the recent Court of Appeals’ rulings, he has authored new legislation in the current session in attempt to make the law more clear should the rulings remain in place. Senate Bill 93 would explicitly state where in the Indiana Administrative Code and on the Internet the public can find the Pharmacy Board’s orders banning additional synthetic drugs.

“Thankfully, Indiana has some of the strongest laws in the country regarding dealing and possessing synthetic drugs, but these laws, and our safety, have been jeopardized by this ruling,” Merritt said. “As an attempt to clarify our state’s current law against synthetic drugs, I authored Senate Bill 93. As long as synthetic drugs are prominent in our communities, Hoosier lives are at risk.”

SB 93 recently passed the Indiana Senate and now moves to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.
Zoeller works with local and state partners to enforce Indiana’s synthetic drug laws, and has supported efforts to crack down on synthetic drug use at the state and national levels.

Recently, he joined with 42 other state attorneys general in urging oil companies to collaborate with their franchises to help eliminate synthetic drugs from retail locations that operate under their brand names, including gas stations and convenience stores.
Despite synthetic drug bans in all 50 states, in 2014, enforcement agencies confirmed more than 130 instances of branded gas stations having sold synthetic drugs.

A copy of the letter can be found here: More information about Zoeller’s synthetic drug efforts can be found here:

The Court of Appeals decision is not yet in effect, and would not take effect until after the Indiana Supreme Court rules. Although the Court of Appeals ruling did not declare the entire synthetic drug statute unconstitutional, it believed that the list of the newest synthetic drugs banned by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy should be easier to find. The Board already makes the list easily accessible on its website and in legal publications like the Indiana Register and Indiana Administrative Code.

When offenders appeal their convictions and sentences, the Attorney General’s Office represents the prosecution in the appeal, and also defends state statutes from legal challenges. The AG’s Office on Thursday filed nearly identical appeals of the Court of Appeals’ rulings in two cases: Christopher Tiplick v. State and Aadil Ashfaque v. State. The AG’s Office asks the Indiana Supreme Court – the state’s highest court – to reverse the Court of Appeals’ rulings invalidating part of the law and reinstate the entirety of the synthetic drugs statute. Here is an excerpt from the State’s brief in the Tiplick case:

“Due process is not offended by the notion that citizens must look at a few statutes and a handful of administrative rules, all of which are easily accessible to the public, in order to determine the legality of a desired course of conduct. The Court of Appeals’ contrary conclusion has far-reaching implications given the broad array of areas in which criminal and administrative law intersect . . . . Indiana’s system simply mimics decades old federal law addressing the problem that the legislative branch could not act quickly enough to keep pace with the constantly changing chemical structures of ‘designer drugs.’”

Now that the State has filed its appeal, defense lawyers for the two defendants will have the opportunity to file a response. The Supreme Court will decide at a later date whether to “grant transfer” and take the case for further review, and whether to schedule oral arguments. The two appeals can take place even as the Legislature considers possible changes to the statute. 

Designer Drug With Deadly Consequences Found In Central Ohio

A recent Central Ohio police report tells a frightening story of a 14-year-old girl who was hallucinating. 

She had to be restrained from jumping out of her parents’ second floor window. Police were able to get the scene and get her to the hospital.

The girl had taken a drug.

“It was actually sold as LSD (but) at this point, we really aren't sure,” said Eric Brown, Columbus Major Crimes Unit Commander.

There was no substance left for police to test.

Officers say there is a new designer drug that is like LSD that’s making its way into the state. It’s called 25I, 25B or 25C.

10TV’s Kristyn Hartman went to the BCI Lab in London where they were testing a sample.

Forensic scientist Jessica Toms says the people who make it dip the perforated blotter paper in a chemical compound. One square under the tongue delivers an LSD-like high.

“I would have said...another trip...yeah let's try it,” said Elizabeth Parker, recovering drug user.

Parker is in recovery at Maryhaven.  She did her share of psychedelics before the emergence of the 25 drugs.

“Everything glitters almost. It's almost like, it's surreal but real. Things don't look the same. Things are different shapes and colors.”

But Parker also had some “bad trips” which were filled with fear and paranoia on LSD. And, police say there can be even worse trips on the drug’s imitators.

“Stimulating effects that can lead to seizures, cardiac arrest, death,” said Jessica Toms, Ohio BCI Forensic Scientist.

A Texas mom knows. Lisa Thomas' son, Chandler tried 25I and went from healthy to the hospital.

“There's no way that's way,” said Lisa Thomas.

He died after seizures and a spiked body temperature - one victim in a growing toll.

The DEA tracks the impact of some 300 designer drugs across the United States, including 25I, 25B and 25C. It warns that you don't know the dose you might be taking.

“You don't know the lab environment in which they're manufactured in China,” said Rusty Payne, DEA Spokesman. “These are not things that were ever meant to be put in the human body”

Payne compares the drugs to poison, a substance where the first use can make your sick.

“You never know what you're getting; never know who made it, never know what's in it.  It's like playing Russian roulette every time you use that drug,” said Paul Coleman, Maryhaven President and CEO.