Monthly Archives: November 2011

Karen Dobner Reports Back on Emergency Summit

Thank you for being patient while waiting to hear about our trip to the Illinois Emergency Summit on Synthetic Drugs.

After 12 hours sleep, I’m back to work and ready to get to our “Foundation for the Foundation.”

Foundation for the Foundation

We are planning on keeping our activities to a minimum as we focus on a business plan and set a foundation for our foundation.

As part of that effort we have contacted an organization called SCORE to help us make an organized plan for the future, including an educational program, media package, and Public Service Announcement.

The Summit

The Summit was a great meeting of the minds in an effort to formulate a coordinated response to fight back against these dangerous drugs.  I spoke at length about the dangers of synthetic marijuana and how we may address these issues regarding “fake pot” within education and law enforcement to an audience made up of medical professionals, law enforcement, legislators, and the concerned public.

We heard from Scott Albrecht, DEA Special Agent, who was a treasure trove of information on the issue.

He spoke to the DEA’s response to synthetic drugs, enforcement and regulatory challenges.  He gave us a break down on the current situation and how fast it is growing.

Some of the new information he gave us:  there are 400-500 minimum chemicals used in synthetic marijuana.  This is the challenge.

There has never been a drug like synthetic marijuana before.  Of the 400+ chemicals used to produce fake pot, there are only tests for 14 by blood and 5 by urine.  This makes it very difficult to enforce the laws designed to ban these products.

DEA had enforced an emergency ban in March, but they don’t even see 2 of the 5 chemicals they banned.

Some of those who produce these drugs are actually suing each other for trademark infringement.

The chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana are produced in China and occasionally shipped to a second country, then into the U.S.

My thoughts:  Maybe we need to start addressing this issue at it’s source…China.  There are no other uses for synthetic canabinoids and cathinones other than for the purpose of making these drugs.

Tom McNamara, Commander of the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group, spoke about their successful efforts to fight the meth problem and how it may relate to the synthetic drug issue. They were very successful in getting Meth out of Southern Illinois.  They have a lot of experience in that.

The Synthetic Marijuana problem is similar because, like Meth, synthetic marijuana is a “do it yourself” drug.

The drug dealers are buying the chemicals from China, and they use acetone to “cut” the chemicals.  Then they spray the chemicals onto Damiana leaves, mallow leaves, or other herbs, and “manufacture” the drug in their garages.

Dr. Michael Wahl, Medical Director, Illinois Poison Control, spoke with enthusiasm about the chemical structures of the various analogs.

The doctor gave us the scientific breakdown of the chemicals used to make these “designer drugs.”  We learned new things about the effects of  these drugs.

In particular, we learned about the dopamine causes paranoia in high doses.  We also learned about the bodies inability to control temperature when under the influence of some of these chemicals.  Temperatures can increase to ranges of 107 and above, causing death and/or brain damage.

Joe Bruscato, Winnebego County States’ Attorney, spoke about how they conducted the recent busts in Rockford.  

He spearheaded a recent sting operation against Rockford (Winnebago County) gas stations and convenience stores.  He spoke about what law enforcement can do.

He recommended they send letters that their liquor licenses may be in jeopardy.  In the most recent sting, they got lucky because the drug dealers were selling a product that was recently outlawed in Illinois, and they were charged for selling a schedule I substance.

Overall, Sandy McKinney, Vice President of TO THE MAXIMUS foundation, and I were able to make some valuable connections and gained some new insight into the synthetic drug industry and the challenges facing law enforcement.

Categories: Action Needed, First Person Stories, Information about Synthetic Marijuana, State Law | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Illinois States Attorney’s Office to Hold Emergency Summit on Synthetic Marijuana

According to Illinois Attorney General, the tragic toll from synthetic drug abuse continues to rise in Illinois. To combat this growing epidemic, Attorney General Madigan is convening an emergency synthetic drug summit on Thursday, November 10th. The goal of this summit is to raise awareness and to strategize ways to protect Illinois communities.

Law enforcement, prosecutors, medical personnel, educators and municipalities will benefit from and are invited to participate. During the summit, experts will share their knowledge and invaluable experience.

The summit will take place on November 10th, from 10:30 a.m – 1:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 Dirksen Parkway, Springfield.

To register for this summit, please call the Attorney General’s office at 866-376-7215.

Madigan convenes summit to address synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs such as bath salts, left, and synthetic marijuana sold as incense have become popular because the substances are legal and often undetectable in drug tests, according to the attorney general.

Posted Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:00 PM
Last update Nov 10, 2011 @ 08:23 AM

Synthetic drugs, a burgeoning problem in Illinois, are prompting Attorney General Lisa Madigan to convene an emergency summit today.

Police, medical personnel and parents are among those who will discuss how to eradicate and educate people about the dangers of synthetic marijuana and so-called “bath salts.” The summit will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza, 3000 S. Dirksen Parkway.

Synthetic drugs have become popular among teens and early 20-somethings because the substances are legal and often undetectable in drug tests, according to Madigan. However, hospitalizations and calls to poison control centers due to bad reactions are skyrocketing.

“We’re seeing this rash of young people who either smoke fake marijuana or are taking bath salts and are ending up in emergency rooms because the physical reactions they’re having are not what they ever intended,” Madigan said.

Gov. Pat Quinn last year signed into law a measure that banned the sale of a synthetic marijuana substitute known as “K2.” However, similar products are taking its place as manufacturers slightly alter the chemical makeup, the attorney general’s office says.

“One of the biggest problems with this is, if it’s sold in the store, then it’s legal and therefore it’s presumably safe, and that is absolutely not the case with these synthetic drugs,” Madigan said.

Growing epidemic

The number of users hospitalized because of reactions to synthetic drugs has jumped since 2009.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 302 calls to poison centers nationwide in 2010 due to reactions to bath salts. So far this year, there have been 5,625. Continue reading

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Fight Synthetic Weed

Just around the corner from your house, right now, there is a small grocery store, gas station, or tobacco store selling an incredibly dangerous drug as “incense” or “potpourri.”  It is known on the street as “Spice” or “K2.”  Others call it “Fake Weed.”

This is much more dangerous drug than marijuana.

This over-the-counter high has stolen the lives of children, our neighbors, and our friends.

Those smoking this powerful synthetic drug hallucinate, and those hallucinations are powerful enough to destroy their lives.

The aftermath of the accident that claimed Max Dobner's life.

Shortly after using this substance, Max Dobner got into a car, drove at speeds approaching 100 mph, and ultimately barreled thr
ough an intersection, hit a wall, went airborne, and crashed into a house

Woodstock paint store manager Patrick Byrum, 33, told officers he smoked synthetic marijuana before he and a female employee at a Sherwin-Williams location got into a violent confrontation Monday evening.  Police said Byrum pulled a gun on the woman, who also admitted to smoking marijuana, and then attempted to carjack several passing vehicles.

Brandon Rice suffered chemical burns inside his chest when he smoked fake cannabis out of a plastic PEZ candy dispenser. He was 13 when he was forced to undergo a double lung transplant after smoking synthetic marijuana.  He died last Wednesday.

These are only a few lives destroyed by this drug.

Do your part.  If synthetic weed hasn’t been outlawed in your state–make an effort to outlaw it.  Educate those around you about its dangers.  Get involved with the To the Maximus Foundation.  We can eliminate this danger from our neighborhoods.

Categories: Information about Synthetic Marijuana | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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