Iowa City police respond to several synthetic drug instances - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City police respond to several synthetic drug instances


It's been a busy stretch for the Iowa City police department investigating several separate synthetic drug incidents.

Police arrested two University of Iowa students Wednesday morning after admitting to smoking synthetic marijuana.

22-year-old Thomas Goldhammer called police after he said his friend had smoked K-2 and was "freaking out."  Officers arrived to find his friend Mitchell Ruden in the kitchen holding a knife.  Both are being charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Meanwhile last Thursday, police executed a search warrant at a downtown Iowa City business called the In-zone, seizing substances believed to be bath salts.  
Those substances have been sent to the state crime lab, charges are pending those test results.  An employee at the business says he was surprised about the investigation but declined to comment further.

Police say catching this type of illegal behavior can be difficult.  Manufacturers have found compounds currently not banned by state code.

"These manufactures are trying to evade the law and come up with different concoctions that can't be viewed illegal," said Sgt. Denise Brotherton with the Iowa City Police Department.

Drug therapy providers like MECCA say synthetic drug use is being reported more and more statewide.  Products are easily available at shops across the state, and people are more likely to abuse these substances because they are less likely to get caught.

"Kids are less likely to be tested for it and adults also and the tests aren't as good as we have for marijuana," said Quinn Berry, MECCA Residential Clinical Manager.

Health officials say law makers and enforcement can only do so much.

Many educational efforts and campaigns look to raise awareness about the dangers of these ever changing designer drugs, which include thoughts of suicide and violent behavior.

"We don't know enough about this stuff. We really don't know what an individual is smoking. The formulas change, we really don't know a lot about the people who are producing it," Berry said. 


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