COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Pharmacy Board have announced a permanent ban on two chemicals being used as synthetic drugs.
The AG's Office says people are abusing the compounds known as PB-22 and 5F-PB-22, which are often sprayed on plant material in order to mimic the effects of marijuana, are typically sold in head shops in small, bright colored packages and marketed as herbal incense products.
Documented symptoms of synthetic drug use include agitation, paranoia, confusion, violence, convulsions, unconsciousness, lethargy, nervousness, erratic behavior, driving as if intoxicated, inability to stand, and slurred speech.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily scheduled the compounds as illegal drugs in February, however the state ban is permanent. The state ban also bans the use and sale of any compound with the same basic chemical structure, even if the compounds have not yet been created.
"Anyone found selling or purchasing these compounds in Ohio is breaking the law, and you will face the consequences," said Attorney General DeWine. "Drugs, whether they are synthetic drugs or street drugs like heroin, are wreaking havoc on Ohio families. This is just one example of the ongoing efforts by my office to prevent further devastation due to drug abuse."
"These substances pose a serious threat to public safety and have no medicinal value," said Ohio State Board of Pharmacy Executive Director Parker. "The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy is proud that these new rules will put Ohio at the forefront of the fight against synthetic drugs."
Investigators say these compounds started showing up in early 2013, following a ban in late 2012 of all synthetic drugs on the market at the time.
Attorney General DeWine has been working with State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) on developing the legislation, which would give the Ohio Attorney General temporary emergency scheduling authority for any compound believed to be an imminent hazard to public safety. The emergency bans would last for at least one year, allowing the administrative rule process or legislative process to proceed at its standard pace to determine if the ban should be made permanent.