March 16, 2017 AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced a new initiative by the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of his office to educate parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and others on the dangers of illegal synthetic drugs. These illicit substances have become a growing threat to health and public safety in Texas, particularly among children and young adults.
The attorney general’s office has launched a special area on its agency website, providing Texans with the information and resources they need to become fully informed about synthetic drugs at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/synthetics. A section with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about synthetic drugs can be printed out as a pdf and shared with others. Because most people are unfamiliar with what the drugs look like, the FAQs includes photos of the colorful packaging used to entice young people to buy synthetic cannabinoids, commonly known as Kush, Spice and fake pot.
“Synthetic drugs are not only illegal, they present a variety of potentially devastating health risks to users, which is why we’re warning Texans: ‘Next time you use could be your last,’” Attorney General Paxton said. “Through our agency’s website, we’re providing communities throughout Texas a one-stop shop for prevention and educational materials on these dangerous substances. My office will continue to do everything within its power to protect Texans from the growing threat of synthetic drugs.”
Information found in the synthetic drugs section of the attorney general’s website also lists common side-effects from synthetic cannabinoid use, including paranoia, hallucinations and seizures, and has an emergency contact number for the Poison Control Center. Visitors to the site will find links to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other trusted sources for additional information on synthetic cannabinoids. Additional topics cover what to do if you encounter someone who has used synthetic drugs, along with practical advice on preventing the use of synthetic cannabinoids.
During the first 11 months of last year, Texas was responsible for 266 synthetic cannabinoid–related calls to poison control centers – the second highest number in the nation. In Houston, emergency responders blamed synthetic cannabinoids for around 1,400 of the 3,000 overdose calls they handled over a 10 month period, including a mass overdose of 16 people in one afternoon in Hermann Park. To date, the CPD has filed 14 lawsuits to block the sale of synthetic cannabinoids in Texas.