SAN DIEGO — The Drug Enforcement Administration and local lawmakers held a news conference Friday that outlined the effort to ban products known as synthetic drugs. According to authorities, the use of synthetic drugs among middle and high school students is on the rise. Teens are smoking and ingesting products that are advertised as bath salts, plant food or k2 incense, and authorities said the only problem is those products mimic the effects of marijuana and cocaine.They’re advertised as harmless incense or bath salts and even say they are not to be ingested on the packaging. However, nine people died in the U.S. last year after smoking or ingesting the products.
It scares me that my friends could be doing it,” said 12-year-old Chula Vista resident Victoria Cardin.Victoria said she didn’t know about the drugs — which are manufactured, not grown — until her mother learned about them on the Internet.”I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Where does this come from?'” said Eliza Bodie-Cardin, Victoria’s mother.A 10News I-Team undercover investigation in 2010 revealed the products were sold in several San Diego liquor stores and gas stations. The sales were legal, and undercover producers bought one gram of “k2 incense” for $20 — a price some would consider steep for one gram of incense.”You’re selling a product that costs $80 and it’s a bath salt?” questioned state Assemblyman Ben Hueso, a Democrat from the 79th District. A recent Internet search for the most expensive legitimate bath salt at retailer Bed Bath & Beyond found a package for $19.99. “There’s no doubt that they’re drugs, that they’re harmful, and there’s not doubt that they should not be in our communities accessible to our children,” said Hueso.Hueso said he is working on legislation that would completely ban the products, which are often called Spice or K2 incense. Previous legislation outlawed five types of “spice,” but some manufacturers altered the chemical makeup of their product to circumvent the law, 10News learned.