State drug agents worried about synthetic drugsSubmitted: 09/26/2013

Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter

MINOCQUA - A Wisconsin Department of Justice Special Agent believes synthetic drugs are on the rise in Wisconsin. That's what he told parents and community leaders Thursday night in Minocqua.

The synthetic drugs are marketed as legal and harmless. They vary from potpourri to bath salts. Both are labeled as not for human consumption, but can be crushed and smoked to get high.

Bob Kovar is a prevention specialist at the Marshfield Clinic. He's a member of the Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach Northwoods Coalition. He's seen the dangerous effects of these drugs in person.

"They could potentially die," Kovar said. "Their body core heat is up, they're having seizers, they're combative."

Lawmakers make certain ingredients illegal, but producers find a new ingredient before the law even takes effect.

State Lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would broaden the definition of synthetic drugs, which would make them more inclusive of all the various ingredients.

They believe that will help police react more effectively.

The Lac Du Flambeau tribe declared a fight against drugs this spring. Two operations since then have flushed drug users and producers from the reservation.

The tribe is its own sovereign nation, so laws are different than state and local governments.

Kovar says the county and state don't have as much flexibility as the tribe.

"We can't react as fast," Kovar said. "But we can certainly learn and try and react faster."

The special agent held the presentation at Lakeland Union High School.

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