False advertising? Cedar Rapids to crack down on synthetic drugs - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

False advertising? Cedar Rapids to crack down on synthetic drugs

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Kids these days can be exposed to a lot of new things, including synthetic drugs.

"You never know when you send your kids out there what they're going to be exposed to," said Rod Dooley, who lives in Cedar Rapids.

"They're much more mature now than they were my kids growing up," said Pam Stiers, who lives in Marion. "My grandkids are much more knowledgeable now, at a younger age."

The products can give the user a high, but due to changing ingredients it's been hard for lawmakers to ban them. The items often stay on shelves until the feds come in and do a bust, which has happened in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City in recent years.

To try to get the products off the streets, the City of Cedar Rapids is working on an ordinance that focuses on the way items are sold, as bath salts or incense.

"It focuses on the packaging and the labeling, any misleading directions that's on the packaging," said Amanda Grieder, Nuisance Property Abatement Coordinator for the City of Cedar Rapids.

On the back of the products, you typically see a warning that says "not for human consumption." Those same warnings can be found on actual bath salts.

What really signifies when an item is actually synthetic drugs is the packaging.

"The packaging's going to have different names on it than bath salts or something like that would normally be called," said Grieder.

Employees at the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) served as a resource for the city on this ordinance and say they're working with other cities, too.

"These are drugs that are masquerading as legitimate products, so that might be a better way to go," said Curt Wheeler, Prevention Specialist at ASAC.

The city council needs to go over the ordinance again before it's officially on the books, but at Tuesday's meeting there was unanimous support from council.

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