Monday, April 22, 2013

Iowa City Group Protests Local Businesses that Sell Synthetic Drugs

Last Thursday, a new group called Iowans Against Synthetics hosted an organizational/educational community meeting about the negative health and societal effects caused by synthetic drugs, such as K2, spice, and bath salts. I was originally going to attend with my youngest son, but ended up getting pulled into an unexpected family get together. It is unfortunate that I was unable to attend. Not only did I miss out on an opportunity to meet up with others who are concerned about the effects of synthetic drugs on our communities, but my son missed out on an opportunity to learn that it's not just his father who is worried about this new problem.

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.”

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.
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.

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:


Amy Sorensen said...

Thanks for your post! I hope we can meet soon, perhaps at our May IAS meeting?? Amy Sorensen

Jon said...

Thanks Amy! (And thanks for commenting here last night. It made me realize that I forgot to create a link to the PC article from which I pulled that quote!!)

My goal is to attend the IAS meeting in May. 05/16/13 at 6:00 PM at the Coralville Library, right? Thursday nights are good nights for me. Thanks again!

Amy Sorensen said...

Yes Coralville Public Library. Can't wait to meet you!