‘Designer’ drugs easily available, unpredictable

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has launched an investigation into synthetic “designer” drugs, finding that they are easy to buy, their legality is murky at best and that often buyers don’t receive the drugs they think they’ve ordered.

An introduction by Star Tribune editor Nancy Barnes says it is “striking” how much “trust buyers put in the notion that it is safe to acquire a synthetic drug over the Internet, from an unproven source.”

In the first installment of the series, reporter Pam Louwagie tells the story of a tragic party in tiny Konawa, Okla., where a college student allegedly ordered a drug over the Internet and, according to court documents, distributed it to party attendees. What he actually received was a different chemical that sickened a number of people and, prosecutors say, led to the death of a 22-year-old.

The story also lists cases in which people using synthetic drugs, such as “bath salts” and “synthetic marijuana,” have been sickened, committed suicide and killed family members.

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