Cracking down on synthetic drugs: Cedar Rapids weighs in - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cracking down on synthetic drugs: Cedar Rapids weighs in

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Police officers and elected officials say synthetic drugs are a growing problem -- and that's why, on Wednesday, Project Synergy Phase II continued.

Project Synergy is a project where local, state, and federal agencies work together to seize synthetic drugs.

Some cities are looking to take the issue into their own hands.

Iowa City police officers joined up with federal Drug Enforcement Administration and several other groups Wednesday morning as a part of a massive synthetic drug bust.

Investigators served warrants and hit up three businesses: Zombies, Pipe Dreamz, and Happy Daze. They said they took out evidence relating to the production and sale of synthetic drugs.

Alex Paige says he's frequented some of these businesses and supports the raid.

"God knows what's in them," said Paige, who lives in Iowa City. "It's just not good to have that stuff available."

Synthetic drugs are often marketed as incense or bath salts and can cause vomiting, hallucinations and even loss of consciousness. The products are constantly changing, causing problems for law enforcement.

"If they seize any synthetic drugs from someone in possession of them on the street, they then have to send the drugs to the state lab, and then it takes several months for them to get the results back so then they can go back and charge the person several months later," said Amanda Grieder with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Grieder is researching synthetic drugs for the City of Cedar Rapids, which is considering an ordinance to help crack down on the products.

"That workflow is kind of difficult for police to actually solve the problem, so that's why we're looking into maybe different ways where we could also help with this issue," said Grieder. 

We also know there was an operation in Linn County Wednesday.

The Linn County sheriff says his office helped the DEA with an investigation in Center Point, that it was a part of a national event, and referred us to the DEA's office.

Read more on today's bust here: http://www.kwwl.com/story/25454563/2014/05/07/3-iowa-city-businesses-busted-in-nationwide-synthetic-drug-bust
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