Overseas Synthetic Drug Operation Halted

syntheticdrugsSeveral years ago emergency responders and law enforcement started noticing people were exhibiting signs of a drug that the experts had never seen before. These patients were not testing positive for heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or alcohol. Investigators soon realized that they were witnessing the effects of bath salts.

Bath salts are a synthetic drug that produces a high similar to cocaine or methamphetamine, with some auditory and visual hallucinations as well. The drug does not show up on a drug test and is made combining different chemicals. Manufacturers of the drug would continuously alter the recipe so drug tests could not be developed to test for the bath salts. This also made selling them in places like gas stations and head shops ok, because the ingredients were constantly modified to be legally acceptable.

Investigators began to realize they needed to find the source of the bath salts. They were called to a lady’s house because of reports of her screaming and shooting her gun into the sky. Upon arrival, it was very clear that she was under the influence of something. Police came across a bag with a white powder and a name of a company.

The company was called, China Enriching Chemistry, it was owned by Eric Chang. The company was producing a drug called mephedrone, which was the main component in some types of synthetic drugs. Based out of China, Chang was supplying drugs all over the United States and Europe. He was taking individual orders and sending the drug right to the person’s home. He even went so far as to commit to re-sending the package in the event it got intercepted by authorities.

Chang’s factory was responsible for feeding the addictions of thousands of people in the United States and across Europe. There are also reports that he began producing ecstasy for clients as well. While the United States does not have the ability to extradite Chang for manufacturing and selling illegal drugs, they did alert authorities in China.

Chang is currently serving time in a Chinese prison. His factory has stopped producing illegal drugs. Investigators have noticed a decline in the amount of bath salts cases and attribute this to Chang’s incarceration.

Study Suggests Bath Salts More Addictive than Meth

Synthetic drugs often call bath salts made worldwide headlines in recent years due to bizarre and even horrific behavior of individuals reported to be under the influence of these chemicals. A study from scientists at The Scripps Research Institute set out to examine how addictive these substances are.

In addition to the name bath salts, these drugs have also been marketed as plant food and other products with labels saying they’re not for human consumption. Lawmakers in the UK and the US have banned the substances altogether. The drugs are derived from cathinone, which is a drug that was synthesized from an African plant leaf called khat.

The recent Scripps study involved giving lab rats doses of bath salts and doses of methamphetamine via intravenous injection after pushing on levers to self-administer it. If found that the rats would wind up pushing the levers ten times more on average to receive a single dose of bath salts compared to methamphetamine.

The findings are published in the August 2013 issue of the journal Neuropharmacology. These results point to potentially an ongoing severe risk of these class of drugs, as chemists seek to synthesize other forms of the drug, which is otherwise known as MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone).

If you or someone you love is having a problem with any type of drugs, contact Addiction Treatment Services for a free consultation on finding solutions for substance abuse issues.