Think just because you can buy it legally at a convenience store, it's harmless? The sheriff's office wants you to think again.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office unveiled a new program Friday to inform citizens about synthetic drug-free stores to help reduce the sales of these products in the community.
Sheriff Chris Nocco was joined by a group of community leaders at the Suncoast Mobile Gas Station, 16055 State Road 52 in Land O' Lakes, to introduce the new sticker program designed to alert customers to stores that do not sell synthetic drugs, which are comprised of a cocktail of toxic chemicals.
“This is the new wave of drugs,” Nocco said. “We are dealing with a very dangerous drug out there.”
Despite a state bill passed that banned certain chemicals, the manufacturers of the drugs continue to change the chemical makeup of the products to skirt the law, Nocco said.
Law enforcement will test products and they do not contain the banned substances, however the effects are still the same.
After working for years to shut down pill mills and get a handle on the abuse of prescription drugs, “now we find another crisis on our hands,” Sen. Mike Fasano said.
"We continue to pass legislation to make these compounds illegal and as soon as the law is passed, they come up with a new compound,” Fasano said.
Fasano said he would like to see the state take emergency action to make it easier to ban new compounds as soon as they show up in the marketplace, rather than wait for the legislature to reconvene.
“We cannot do this alone,” Nocco said. Community leaders and activists are working together to inform the public, and especially parents and children, about the dangers of synthetic drugs such as Spice and bath salts.
“Lives are at stake here and we’re not going to tolerate it any longer,” Fasano said.
The Suncoast Mobile gas station and convenience store was the first to receive a sticker for display on its door that reads in part, "Synthetic Drugs Kill - These Drugs Are NOT Sold Here."
To receive the sticker, store owner Paul Jallo signed a letter of agreement provided by the sheriff's office stating that the store will not sell the items.