Either way, it is likely if I'd attended the meeting on Thursday that I would also have attended the following protest that happened in Iowa City this past weekend:
After learning that some Iowa City area businesses sell synthetic drugs, Tipton resident Brydie Criswell said she was enraged, infuriated and deeply saddened. She said people — especially children — assume that synthetic cannabinoids are safe because they are sold legally. In reality, she said, these substances can have harmful, unpredictable and sometimes deadly effects. “People call it fake pot and they think pot is pretty harmless,” Criswell said. “But this is nothing like pot at all.”I try to avoid references to my job on this blog most of the time, for multiple reasons. One aspect of my job is interacting with the local hospitals' psychiatric units. One of the biggest, most negative changes over the past year has come as a direct result of synthetic drugs. They are difficult to test for. Patients come into the hospital displaying incredibly violent behaviors, which are barely managed by hospital staff. It's not pretty and it's not safe, either for those caught up in this new addiction, nor for the other patients or the hospital staff.
Criswell was one of about 15 Iowa City area residents protesting the sale of synthetic drugs outside The Den on Saturday in Iowa City. The protest was organized by the newly formed Iowans Against Synthetics, which is working to raise awareness about synthetic drugs and hopes to eventually see them banned in Iowa.
Group founder Amy Sorensen said side effects of using synthetic drugs can run the gamut of hallucinations, memory loss, paranoia, violence and suicidal tendencies. She said her 18-year old daughter struggles with an addiction to these substances and has been hospitalized after using the drugs multiple times...
Some forms of synthetic drugs — K2 and bath salts — already are illegal, Sorensen said. But manufacturers are sidestepping the law by slightly changing the chemical makeup of the substances. Iowans Against Synthetics is calling for a boycott of the Iowa City area businesses that sell the substances.
The Den was spotlighted this weekend for protest, but I can assure you that they are not the only local business selling these unsafe, yet legal substances. I have joined Iowans Against Synthetics' Facebook page and will use it to keep up-to-date with their activities.
In the meantime, here is a video with footage from last weekends' protest: