, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

April 3, 2013

Local law enforcement studies synthetic drug issues

— By Dale Ann Deffer

Times Correspondent

It's known as “Spice”  and can be found in head shops, convenience stores and some tobacco shops.

Some refer to it as incense, fake pot or medical pot and have taken it to get the” high” without detection by a drug test.

It looks like clumped marijuana, yet is a different color. It is ingested either by snorting or by smoking it.

This particular chemically manufactured substance was the subject of a law enforcement seminar held in Fort Gibson on March 27.

Local law enforcement, led by Chief of Police Clint Vernon, was present along with his team and officers from Hulbert to be trained in how to detect the packaging and how to enforce the new ban in Fort Gibson.

“This was great training. Everybody got a lot of information,” Vernon said. “I have heard it before and now it is a city ordinance making it illegal to buy or sell the substance. It is a Class I Misdemeanor and includes jail time plus a fine.”

The session was led by Cindy Farmer, who is director and coordinator of Cherokee County Juvenile Drug Court and has extensively researched and studied this product for over three years.

Farmer is particular concerned that the marketing of this product appears kid friendly, she said.

The packaging includes candy and flavors like bubblegum and blueberry, which is highly deceptive, she said.

“The results of getting high from this substance can be devastating,” Farmer said. “This is like playing Russian Roulette.”

Some of the common symptoms experienced by users and documented by Farmer include vomiting, shaking, hallucinations, heart palpitations, paranoia, extreme agitation, to psychosis, seizures and even suicide.

Some of the reasons this product is not widely known is the “Code of Silence” amongst the users, particular our youth, Farmer said. That, and it is falsely thought to be safe, she said.

Although the chemicals used in the product were previously not banned, now there are tests available which can detect its use.

When asked why she has worked so hard in getting the word out to the general public, Farmer said, “This is the preventative side of our juvenile drug court system. It takes a whole community to work with this problem.”

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