It was just a year ago when bath salts dominated headlines around the region. But after a coordinated effort by police and lawmakers, the problem was brought under control. Now, as YNN's Cara Thomas tells us, police are being proactive to keep new synthetic drugs off the streets.
UTICA, N.Y. -- No one saw it coming when bath salts and other synthetic drugs spread throughout the region last summer.
"We really had no ability to really enforce this because no laws existed," said Sgt. Steve Hauck with the Utica Police Department.
It didn't take long before laws were passed banning these types of drugs on a local, state and federal level.
Hauck said, "That gave us the teeth to be able to go after people, as we saw with Tebb's Headshop, was charged federally for selling these synthetic drugs."
But that doesn't mean synthetic drugs aren't still out there. That's why Utica Police are warning the public about a new drug that's become very well known in Georgia called "Crazy Clown."
Hauck said, "This apparently is marijuana based, so you either smoke it or inhale it in some form or another."
Eight people were hospitalized last week after smoking the drug. One is still is critical condition.
Police say "Crazy Clown" causes vomiting, dry mouth, weakness, cardiac problems and prevents you from being able to move your body.
"If you find it in its original packaging, it's going to have some type of name on it. And it could be just a foil type of thing, almost like a Capri Sun type of packaging, it could be something like that or it could be in a jar," said Hauck.
One issue facing law enforcement: The packaging and ingredients in synthetic drugs are constantly changing in an effort to bypass existing laws. Police say they're not sure if "Crazy Clown" would be covered under the current laws. But either way, they're asking the public to stay vigilant and report the sale of any synthetic drugs.