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Synthetic drug danger ignored by buyers in Duluth

The Star Tribune’s Larry Oakes and Pam Louwagie are producing a terrific series on the dangers of new synthetic drugs, but the facts don’t seem to be deterring buyers of the products in Duluth.

The Duluth News Tribune says:

Dozens of customers line up in front of the Last Place on Earth head shop on Superior Street to buy designer drugs, including herbal incense — sold as a legal alternative to marijuana — with names such as No Name, Armageddon and DOA, and bath salts called Insurrection and Lunar Eclipse.

Some of the fidgety customers look like they’re waiting to get into a soup kitchen. Others look like your next-door neighbor.

The products they are seeking to buy are comprised of a class of chemicals perceived as legally mimicking cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is attempting to ban or control the synthetic stimulants because some users have reported impaired perception, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia and violent episodes.

Jim Carlson, the store’s owner, said he doesn’t feel bad about selling the substances, because he believes people should be free to buy what they want. And as the DEA cracks down on some substances, the manufacturers keep coming up with others that aren’t illegal.

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