LANTANA, Fla. - The Drug Enforcement Administration is stepping up efforts to stop people from selling 'synthetic' drugs.
"All you have to do is try it once and it can kill you," said Officer Nelson Berrios of the Lantana Police Department. Berrios' mission as of late is cracking down on these 'synthetic' drugs. He says that getting these substances is very easy. Taking them, he said, can be deadly.
Not everyone is heeding those warnings, including 'Carlos', who declined to reveal his full identity.
"I have an understanding of what I'm going to feel before I put it in my system," said Carlos who admits to using these substances on more than one occasion. He said he has ingested these 'synthetic' drugs to get a high. "I just laid back, listened to the music and enjoyed myself," he said.
The DEA is banning 26 new ingredients commonly found in products like 'K2', 'Spice' and 'Mr. Nice Guy'. The items are often sold as 'herbal incense' in convenience stores. The packets are labeled with the warning: 'not for human consumption'.
Some people are choosing to ignore those warnings.
"It's like playing Russian Roulette for those users that are using this," said Officer Berrios. He says that getting 'synthetic' drugs off of local streets can be an endless fight.
Berrios says manufacturers constantly alter their ingredients to keep their products within the law.
Evolving ingredients, Berrios says, can also mean evolving health consequences for users. New guidelines, he says, will not necessarily make the problem go away. "The public should not be complacent just because a law is written," he said.
Berrios hopes for more accountability for those who manufacture and sell such substances. That accountability, he says, may have the most impact.