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NY AG Schneiderman explains strategy for synthetic drugs

It's sold in packaging that appeals to younger consumers, comes with names including 'Mr. Happy' and K2' and can be found in legitimate businesses or online. Synthetic drugs are raising eyebrows and concerns of various leaders, including New York State's top prosecutor, who has taken a different approach to getting those substances off the streets.

Leaders from government, law enforcement, medical, first responder and community interests met in Niagara Falls on Monday to discuss the rising use of synthetic drugs, which doctors say can be more dangerous to the user than natural counterparts.

"In my experience, these drugs have a new heightened level of agitation and worsening violence than we've ever seen," said Dr. Marc Klementowski, emergency room doctor at Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston. "It's put not only the patient's health at risk but also the medics and nurses and our lives at risk in safely trying to care for these people."

One of the problems in getting these substances off the streets, say law enforcers, is the lack of knowledge about the ingredients. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, for prosecutors to use existing drug laws when going after the manufacturers. But New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has taken a different approach.

The drugs are packaged with no labels which provide information about the contents. Schneiderman says that's a violation of consumer protection laws, and that's how he's going after the makers.

"This process of civil injunctions based on consumer protection laws really has proved to be effective," Schneiderman said. 

It's the tactic he used to go after a company based in Lackawanna, Surrealistic Sensations, which sold wares online including herbal juices, resin, plants and even herbal candy. The company's website was still active as of Monday but on the front page was a message stating: "Temporarily Closed! Do Not Order!"

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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