NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - About 150 law enforcement officers from across the state gathered in North Little Rock Wednesday to figure out better ways to crack down on synthetic drugs, most commonly known as"K2" or "bath salts."
A law passed in 2010 bans the sale of these drugs in Arkansas, but they are still being sold and consumed.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was the keynote speaker of Wednesday's Synthetic Drug Symposium. He said the first step in combating this problem is educating Arkansans of how dangerous these substances are. These drugs, which could be found on store shelves, can cause brain damage and even kill people the first time someone tries it.
"We've got to share information, we have to give information to law enforcement, we have to give information to parents," McDaniel said. "We have to make it known to our kids that just because you buy something legally, if you use it as a drug, it can be fatal."
According to a study performed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Center (UAMS), these types of drugs are the most toxic synthetic compounds to be found in a human body.
Cleburne County Sheriff Marty Moss was one of the officers at the event. He said these relatively new designer drugs puzzled officers investigating certain cases, especially involving teenagers.
"We were seeing a lot of our youth in Cleburne County who were ending up in the emergency room and they were testing clean," Moss said. "There was nothing in, showing up in the drug tests so it raised the question -- what do we have going on here?"
Arkansas was a leader in making K2 and bath salts against the law. Other states followed suit in banning the synthetic drugs.
McDaniel will now work with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney General's Office to see what other steps can be done to fight this problem.