Synthetic Drugs Are Still Sold In West Texas, Little Being Done To Ban It 3/4/13
CBS 7 News
March 4, 2013
ODESSA, TX- On our CBS 7 Facebook page, we asked viewers what stories they wanted us to cover. A high majority of comments stated that we look into the current status of synthetic drugs in West Texas. Tonight CBS 7 traced down the latest on the sale of synthetic drugs in the Permian Basin.
Last November we hired a private investigator to go undercover and reveal the sale of synthetic drugs in West Texas. One of the stores our investigators found selling synthetic marijuana, which they market as incent, has since removed the packages from the store.
"It’s been ... 3 or 4 months now [since we sold it]," said an employee One Stop convenience store.
But across town, the same chain of convenience store, One Stop – Odessa Grocery continues to sale the same packages. Customers say the products are smoked and used as synthetic marijuana.
"This stuff is dangerous... [the problem is] a matter of who’s buying it,” said a customer inside the store.
Many ingredients found in synthetic marijuana are illegal by federal law. But the substances are still being sold over the counter, without strict enforcement of the law.
It’s a problem that Anna Scroggins with New Day Counseling says is taken lightly by city officials.
"I know that I'm taking it serious. I know that the parents that call me and the children in the emergency room ...definitely know how serious it is," said Scroggins.
She has worked to create a ban locally to stop the sale of synthetic drugs in Odessa. Scroggins presented it before the Odessa city council and to the mayor, but the ban has not been put into place.
"They don't understand what they are buying and honestly that's what's frightening the state of Texas and anyone who’s trying to battle this drug," she said.
Odessa Mayor David Turner says that the reason nothing has been done to stop the sale of synthetic drugs locally is because of difficulty finding a lab to process the drugs.
In order to file charges against having the synthetics, the illegal ingredient inside of the drug must come up positive in a test.
He says the DPS lab has been backed up with synthetic drug case and he plans to talk with legislature to provide more money for DPS. Turner believes that more funding will help speed up the process.
The Palmer Drug Abuse program says that the sale of synthetic drugs is a problem in both Midland and Odessa.
The owner of One Stop denies selling synthetic drugs in his store. He says the products are just incenses.