New Synthetic Opioid, Mixed With Cocaine, Detected in Overdose Cases
Health officials in Illinois and Indiana say a new synthetic opioid appears to be linked to some overdose cases, USA Today reports.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to create an investigative unit to go after sales of synthetic drugs, the Daily News reports. The unit should focus on websites that sell the drugs, and notify credit card companies and payment processors such as PayPal of the illegal activity, he said.
“Unless we find a way to chock off their supply, synthetic drugs are going to keep delivering very real and very painful consequences,” Schumer said. “Toxic chemicals, cooked mainly in China, are available to dealers or bodegas at the drop of a hat.”
Earlier this month, law enforcement officials disrupted a massive drug distribution ring involving synthetic marijuana in New York. The scheme allegedly involved the unlawful importation of 100 kilograms of illegal synthetic compounds, sufficient to produce about 260,000 retail drug packets worth about $30 million.
The synthetic drugs allegedly came from China in powdered form. They were shipped through commercial delivery channels to a processing facility in the Bronx. They were then combined with chemical solvents, sprayed onto tea leaves, packaged and sent to wholesale distributors.
“The chemicals were likely purchased via the Internet and likely with a credit card,” Schumer said. “The high is cheap, the cost is low, and the consequences are deadly.”
While it is illegal to sell or distribute synthetic marijuana products in New York City and New York State, Schumer said in a news release that teens and young people can easily purchase synthetic drugs out of state or on the Internet with little to no consequence.