DETROIT – In an effort to reduce the number of young people impacted by synthetic drugs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced a public service announcement partnership today with Cumulus Radio to generate awareness about the drugs’ harmful effects.
The PSA campaign comes at the beginning of the school year and is a warning to parents of teens, who are the primary targets of synthetic drugs marketing efforts, with packaging featuring cartoon characters and flashy or colorful designs.
As part of the PSA campaign, Talk 760 WJR-AM will air a 60-second PSA, which features HSI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Marlon Miller discussing some of the harmful side effects of synthetic drugs.
Each year, ICE and its partners seize thousands of pounds of illegal designer drugs and arrest hundreds of individuals involved with their illegal sale and distribution.
Communities, families and individuals across the United States have experienced the scourge of designer synthetic drugs, which are often marketed as herbal incense, bath salts, jewelry cleaner or plant food.
These dangerous drugs have caused significant abuse, addiction, overdoses and emergency room visits. Those who have abused synthetic drugs have suffered vomiting, anxiety, agitation, irritability, seizures, hallucinations, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. They have caused significant organ damage as well as overdose deaths. Over the past five years between 200 and 300 new designers drugs from eight different structural classes have been identified, the vast majority of which are manufactured in China.
According to a June 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between January and May 2015, poison centers received 3,572 calls linked to synthetic cannabinoid use – a 229 percent increase over the 1,085 calls received during the same period in 2014.
The most commonly reported adverse health effects were agitation, tachycardia, drowsiness or lethargy, vomiting and confusion. Among 2,961 calls for which a medical outcome was reported, 335 callers had a major adverse effect (signs or symptoms that are life-threatening or result in substantial residual disability or disfigurement); 1,407 had a moderate effect (signs or symptoms that are not life-threatening and do not result in residual disability or disfigurement, but usually require some form of treatment). A total of 1,095 had a minor effect (signs or symptoms that are minimally bothersome and generally resolve rapidly with no residual disability or disfigurement), and 109 (3.7 percent) had no effect. A total of 15 deaths were reported during the period.