Dearborn begins combating synthetic drugs

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Officials at state and local levels have joined forces in combating a synthetic form of marijuana, known as “K-2” and “Spice,” in Michigan.

State Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn) recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding his support for House Bill 5714 and Senate Bill 1082 — part of a legislative package that would ban synthetic substances like “K-2” and “Spice” in Michigan.

Darany said the introduced bills will help end the sale and use of the synthetic substances.

“I am encouraged that this version of the legislation is moving forward,” Darany said. “It is important that we give law enforcement officials all of the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and well-being of our families and communities. I was happy to see these bills unanimously reported from committee and urge the House leadership to bring this legislation before the full House of Representatives for a vote.”

On board with the ban are Dearborn Public Schools and the Dearborn Police Department.

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said the department shared information about the synthetic drug with southeastern Michigan police chiefs to keep them abreast of the issue and the measures Dearborn is taking to keep the synthetic drug off the shelves.

“Similarly they are all doing the same thing to contact their business partners,” Haddad said. “To me, that is a huge thing and internally we’ve got Dearborn Public Schools and all our civic and business and community associations on board with supporting it in (a) letter.”

On June 5, Haddad sent a letter to area businesses requesting their support and cooperation with taking synthetic drugs such as “K-2,” “Spice,” “Black Magic” and “bath salts” off store shelves. Haddad also is asking residents to watch out for businesses selling synthetic drugs.

“K-2” and “Spice” are considered to be synthetic cannabinoids, or any of the chemical compounds that are the active principles of marijuana. “Black Magic” is an imitation cannabis hash not composed of anything from the cannabis plant. “Hayze” is described as a potpourri herbal incense.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made illegal the possession and sale of three of the chemicals commonly used to make bath salts — the synthetic stimulants mephedrone, MDPV, and methylone.

“Recently, we have witnessed several tragic events involving the violent and self-destructive reaction to drug overdoses linked to over-the-counter sales of synthetic products such as ‘K-2,’ ‘Spice,’ ‘Hayze,’ ‘Black Magic’ and ‘bath salts,’ Haddad said in the letter.

“These dangerous and often times life-threatening synthetic chemical products are being marketed to the youth in our community under the misrepresentation of ‘herbal incense’ not intended for human consumption,” he said in the letter.

In the letter, Haddad said he supported emergency state legislation that will outlaw harmful and often-deadly products that pose a critical threat to the well being of America’s youth.

DPS also recently sent out a statement showing its support behind the ban, including Supt. Brian Whiston’s view on the synthetic drugs.

“Removing these dangerous products from store shelves is an important undertaking as well as making sure that our entire community is aware of the dangers of these synthetic drugs,” Whiston said. “We applaud the efforts of Chief Haddad, his staff, and the city of Dearborn for taking a proactive stand in combating this dangerous product.”

The district plans to share Haddads’s message with students, staff, parents and community partners.

An unidentified gas station attendant at Citgo, 13641 Ford Road, said his company does not sell the synthetic drug.

Haddad also is asking residents to report any business selling the substances to the Police Department by calling 313-943-3012.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com.)

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