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No Ban Yet For Synthetic Drugs In Midland And Odessa 5/24/13
CBS 7 News
May 24, 2013
ODESSA-Dangerous synthetic drugs are here to stay. Now local governments are stepping in to try and keep the drugs off our streets. But there's no legislation in Midland and Odessa.
It’s a constant game of cat and mouse with synthetic drugs as stores change their formulas to stay above the law.
The drugs are dangerous--and use is on the rise across Midland and Odessa. State law does prohibit some chemicals--but stores keep changing their formulas to sell "legal" synthetic marijuana.
“They are staying one step ahead of us,” said Odessa Mayor David Turner. “If we test for that chemical and we find it we can bust them. Unfortunately once they find out that chemical can be tested for, they move to a different chemical.”
Some cities are taking action. Last night Pecos voted to extend their ban on the drugs. After months of discussion, Odessa still has not passed a ban. Mayor David turner says part of the problem is that a local ordinance holds less power.
“If we pass a city ordinance, some of those crimes become misdemeanors, whereas right now with state law they are felonies,” Turner said.
Drug prevention counselors say the problem is keenly felt in both youth and the oilfield population. And there's no end in sight.
“We know there’s a lot of oilfield workers using synthetic marijuana because it helps them stay up long hours,” said Carrie Barrie Bronaugh, a prevention coordinator at the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
It’s not just the law that's behind -- with chemicals ever-changing, testing centers are backed up. And you can't shut down a shop until test results return.
"If we overload DPS anymore, it takes too long to test,” said Turner.
Odessa is considering adopting ordinances like in Hobbs, but until then its up to state law to crack down.
Odessa is further along than midland--where officials say they are not looking into a city ordinance, but mayor Wes Perry says he would be open if his staff saw a need.