KUSA - A Congressional hearing Wednesday could lead to stronger laws for synthetic drugs commonly known as K2, Spice and Bath Salts. Colorado already outlaws all these substances.
"It's a plant material," Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association said. "It could be virtually any plant material that's coded with a chemical and when you smoke this chemical or ingest it, it triggers certain receptors in the brain; the same receptors as when you use marijuana are affected."
Recently, there have been a rash of poisonings in the Denver area. Doctors told 9NEWS, a bad batch is most likely to blame.
"It's not legal in Colorado," Sgt. Gerhardt said. "The federal government controls a certain amount of this, and they designate the exact chemical, and they designate the exact chemical compounds that are illegal federally. The state of Colorado took those compounds and then added language that covers any modification of these compounds."
In June, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced a bill to further combat synthetic drugs on a federal level. It's called "Protecting our Youth from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act of 2013."
Meanwhile, the fight against the drugs on the local level goes on.
"This issue right now is extremely important because of all the overdoses," Sgt. Gerhardt said. "I can tell you there are efforts afoot across the state of Colorado to focus in on this much more aggressively than we have been."
But like anything in law enforcement, it's not easy. The drugs used to be openly sold in stores. That is no longer the case Sgt. Gerghardt said. It's difficult for even undercover officers to get their hands on these items. No matter how people get it, they should remember it's illegal and could be dangerous.
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