New drug trend includes use of legal substances

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Ted Sullivan
Sunday, May 30, 2010
— A new trend of drug abuse has caused at least two nonfatal overdoses in Milton, but these substances pose an unusual problem: They’re legal.

“Law enforcement’s hands are tied,” Lt. John Conger said. “It’s a legal product, and if they choose to ingest it and overdose, all we can do is treat it medically.”

A 26-year-old Milton man overdosed May 14 on a substance called “K2” or “Spice.” The product is marketed as incense and sold at local tobacco shops, Conger said.

“K2” is a blend of spices and herbs sprayed with a chemical similar to THC, he said. Users typically smoke the product to get a high similar to marijuana.

A second 26-year-old Milton man overdosed May 20 on a product called “GBL.” The substance can be bought online and is marketed as a tire rim cleaner. It is ingested orally or injected into a vein, Conger said.

In both cases, the men were temporarily unconscious, incoherent and delirious after using the drugs, he said. Both men were hospitalized and treated for overdose symptoms.

Law enforcement has been aware of the drugs for some time, but the Milton overdoses are the first reported in this area, Rock County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Christiansen said. It’s hard to know the popularity of the drugs.

“If it continues to grow and it’s causing these medical issues, it’s something that probably should be regulated,” he said. “The laws may have to be changed to include them as illegal substances.”

For now, all law enforcement can do is educate the public about the problem, Conger said. Police want to spread the word about the dangers of legal drugs to kids and adults.

“We don’t have any tools to combat it other than to make people aware that it’s out there and, obviously, that it’s a very dangerous substance,” he said.

Last updated: 1:43 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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