New Bedford officials looking to crack down on synthetic drugs

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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The city of New Bedford is trying to clean up its streets by targeting synthetic drugs.

The drugs – like bath salts, spice and K2 – are often sold in stores and are becoming a hot button issue, officials say.

“We’ve seen seizures, vomiting, fast heart rate, frank psychotic episodes,” said Dr. Craig Longo, an emergency room physician.

The drugs are normally sold in colorful foils and cellophane – and are usually labeled “not for human consumption.” Often, they have chemical compositions that skirt around federal regulations, meaning stores can stock them legally on their shelves.

City leaders are now working on a plan that would prohibit the drugs based on their physiological effects regardless of their packaging or ingredients.

“It allows our code enforcement folks to go into stores and demand that stores take it off the shelves or they’re going to face a fine or even the shutdown of their businesses – which is pretty steep in the City of New Bedford,” said city health director Dr. Brenda Weis.

Some local stores have already pulled the drugs from their shelves. Himali Patel said his parents own three convenience stores in the city that have already stopped selling the products.

“Don’t wait for the regulators to take action, step up and do the right thing for your customers and this community,” he said.

The new regulations will be considered at a Board of Health meeting on Thursday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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