Officials in Rutherford County are working to create stricter laws regarding the sale of synthetic drugs that could impact the entire state.
The drugs are smoked, snorted and eaten to give users a fast high, though the drugs have been known to make users extremely ill.
“Some people are becoming psychotic, some people are becoming delusional and some people are just plain becoming addicted and need help,” explained drug court director Mary Schneider.
Currently, anyone found selling synthetic drugs such as Molly's Plant Food and bath salts is only charged with a misdemeanor.
However, Rutherford County officials are hoping to change the punishment to a felony.
“If you've got boxes and boxes of this stuff in your store room that should be treated like you've got marijuana, cocaine, or anything else, it should be a felony,” Schneider said.
According to authorities, Rutherford County suffers from the largest synthetic drug problem in the state.
In September, law enforcement officials began cracking down on the sale of the drug out of local convenience stores.
In total, 36 gas stations throughout the county were raided; however officials said manufacturers continue to stay a step ahead.
“At first when we were starting to see it, we couldn't test for it, now we can test for it and even the laboratories are having to change their tests for what's going on out there,” Schneider said.
Officials told Nashville's News 2 the problem they tend to run into is that once a synthetic compound is outlawed, a new one is created.
Users can find recipes and step by step demonstrations on various Web sites, which make it easy for anyone to manufacture the drugs from their home.
“It's a totally unregulated industry and it's done in people's homes, by people who may or may not know what they're doing,” Schneider explained, adding, “You're getting a concoction that is making people very, very sick.”
Earlier this month, two Clarksville teens were involved in a crash after they told police they had purchased synthetic drugs from a store in Kentucky.
Authorities hope the new law will be in place by early next year.
- Nov. 15, 2011: Police: Teens high on synthetic drugs involved in crash
- Sept. 7, 2011: TBI raid targets stores selling synthetic drugs