Synthetic Marijuana Causing Major Problems in Iowa - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Synthetic Marijuana Causing Major Problems in Iowa

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New drugs are showing up in our area -  but they may actually be legal.

Synthetic drugs were responsible for 3 deaths in Iowa last year.

Law enforcement say it's getting worse because the drug manufacturers are getting smarter. 

To understand how dangerous synthetic drugs can be, you have to understand what they are.

They are simply drugs created in a lab.

Nothing natural about them.

But that also makes it much easier to alter them.

And law enforcement says that's the problem.

People making and providing the drug are able to make it technically legal by tweaking a formula, while still allowing the user to get high. 

And that's happening faster than people can get these dangerous drugs off the market.

"What were finding is that these people are one step ahead of the law because as soon as the state legislature or federal government bans a chemical compound, the manufacturer alters that chemical compound in just a small way so it can be sold," says Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf. 

But, just because something is legal, doesn't make it safe. 

According to the Governors Office of Drug Control Policy, synthetic marijuana can cause a lot of similar problems to the natural plant: like visual and body impairment. 

But Wolf says the scarier problem is a lot of people don't know that. 

And don't know what synthetic drugs are capable of.

"A lot of the parents and a lot of people are unaware of this," He explains. "If it's being sold in a store, people assume it's regulated or safe. And it's not."

Wolf says that as of now, these products are being sold online and even in convenience stores, legally because the particular substance isn't illegal. 

And they are as cheap or cheaper than buying the actual drug.