A Digital Market – A Synthetic Drug

synthetic-drugThe demand for synthetic drugs in the United States continues to grow as lawmakers and police officials struggle with how to contain what has become a billion dollar industry. Synthetic drugs are far from benign; everyday news stories about horrific incidents involving these types of drugs grab the public’s attention. Users of synthetic drug have little way of knowing what they are consuming and the side effects that will follow.

Synthetic drug manufactures are constantly altering the formula to stay one step ahead of U.S. bans. After reformulating, there is little, if any, testing to determine the side effects one might expect. The results vary, but synthetic drug use often involves temporary psychosis and violent behavior.

Chinese Origins

Today, the bulk of synthetic drugs is being manufactured in China where there is little oversight and even less regulation. American synthetic drug dealers are purchasing these dangerous drugs online with little difficulty, the Miami Herald reports. Smuggling synthetic drugs into the U.S. does not involve “mules,” the USPS and other private shipping companies do just fine.

“There is no typical drug dealer anymore,” said South Florida’s U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “It’s easy to get access to this stuff. It’s less dangerous and less risky. These new drug dealers are using the Internet, and all they need is a runner to go intercept the package from overseas.”

The most common synthetic drugs ordered from China include:

  • Bath Salts
  • Flakka
  • Spice
  • Molly
  • NBOMe

Perpetual Changes – Constant Danger

As soon as the United States issues a ban on a synthetic drug or a chemical used to make a particular drug, Chinese chemists alter their formulation. The next shipment to find its way into the country will likely be a formulation that has not been banned. It also means that the side effects that come along with the new product are anyone’s guess.

“They’re way ahead of us,” Kevin Stanfill, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami Field Division, said of the Chinese synthetic drug distributors. “They watch the news; they see the reports. It’s ever changing, and we have to change with the times.”

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Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Impacts the Economy

drunk-drivingDriving under the influence of alcohol has a serious impact on society. Every year, thousands of lives are lost because people get behind the wheel with alcohol in their system. Preventing drunk driving, not only saves lives, it also has a positive impact on the economy, Reuters reports.

A new study has found that the reduction in drunk driving over the past few decades contributed to 5 percent of the $200 million compounded average annual growth in the gross domestic product from 1985 to 2013. Since 1984-86, alcohol related car crash reductions created 215,000 jobs and:

  • Increased economic output in 2010 by an estimated $20 billion.
  • Increased the U.S. gross domestic product by $10 billion.
  • Increased U.S. income by $6.5 billion.

In the United States, the study showed that alcohol played a part in about 12 percent of car crashes in 2010, according to the article. In 1984 to 1986, the number of people involved in car crashes due to alcohol was around double what it was in 2010.

“Alcohol-involved crashes drag down the U.S. economy,” the researchers wrote. “On average, each of the 25.5 billion miles Americans drove impaired in 2010 reduced economic output by $0.80. Those losses are preventable.”

The country will continue to see economic gains as alcohol-related car crashes continue to become less common, said Ted Miller, a study author from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“We know where to move to get more reductions,” said Miller. “We need to hold the course and keep expanding it.”

The findings were published in the journal Injury Prevention.

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