This week DEA agents launched raids in 29 U.S. states, making more than 150 arrests and serving 200 warrants, while also seizing more than $20 million in cash and assets in relation to synthetic drugs.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the U.S.
The focus of the recent DEA raids has been with synthetic drugs, Time Magazine reports. Synthetic drugs are chemically laced substances, including chemically formulated versions of synthetic marijuana such as K2 or Spice, as well as chemical compounds that mimic the effects of cocaine or meth marketed as "bath salts." Manufacturers have been able to sell the drugs over the counter by labeling them “not for human consumption” in an effort to avoid regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Use of synthetic cannabinoids is alarmingly high, especially among young people, according to the White House. According to the 2012 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, one in nine 12th graders in America reported using synthetic cannabinoids in the past year. This rate, unchanged from 2011, puts synthetic cannabinoids as the second most frequently used illegal drug among high school seniors after marijuana.
In related news, Pharma Manufacturing reports, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the first ever designation of synthetic drug traffickers as kingpins under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. This means that U.S. citizens can no longer do business with the identified companies.