BOARD UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTS SYNTHETIC DRUG
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance
Tuesday designed by the Sheriff’s Department to combat Synthetic Drugs by using
a multi-pronged approach to eradicate sales of these illicit substances, which
have long eluded comprehensive enforcement.
John McMahon presented a Synthetic Drug ordinance to the Board of Supervisors
that included criminal, administrative and civil penalties for those who sell
Synthetic Drugs – more commonly known as “spice” or “bath salts.” Dozens of
community members attended the meeting to support the ordinance and thanked the
department for brining it forward.
is a mixture of herbs sprayed with the synthetic chemicals that is usually
smoked. Bath salts are synthetic chemicals in a powder or crystal form that are
usually snorted or injected. These highly addictive, synthetic drugs are
marketed as potpourri, decorative sand, shoe deodorizers or glass cleaner;
however they have nothing in common with the products they are advertised to
be. They are packaged using bright colors and cartoon characters in an obvious
ploy to attract children.
The ordinance targets synthetic drugs beyond
the traditional realm of lab testing and further allows for enforcement based
on the marketing, price, sales location, warning labels and similarity to
street drugs. For example, synthetic drugs are often labeled as “window
cleaner” but are sold in a smoke shop; do not resemble traditional window
cleaning products; cost significantly more for a small portion of product; and
are labeled with “not for purchase by minors.” The proposed ordinance finds a
combination of the above-listed facts evidence the product is illicit.
Furthermore, the ordinance creates penalties that include fines, misdemeanor
charges and the possible loss of a business license.
Josie Gonzales recommended an outreach to all cities in the county to encourage
them to adopt similar ordinances, if they had not already. Currently seven
cities have a synthetic drug ordinance: Adelanto, Highland, Fontana, Redlands,
Rialto, 29 Palms and Barstow. Sheriff John McMahon said department captains who
serve as chiefs of police for cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Department
were welcome to use this county ordinance as a template.
and “bath salts” – also known as “designer drugs” – have been scientifically
formulated to create the same effects of more common drugs, such as marijuana,
methamphetamine or PCP. But these “fake” substances are not detected on
standard drug tests and are often misconstrued as “harmless” because they are a
synthetic imitation. For this reason, abuse tends to run rampant among children
and those who are subject to standard drug tests, such as military personnel.
effects of these synthetic, or “designer” drugs, range greatly because there is
no prescribed dosage on any of the packages. Users have been known to suffer
cardiac arrest, brain seizures and tremors. Others have extraordinary strength,
similar to the effects associated with the use of PCP, making the Taser and
other force options ineffective. While producers of bath salts promise a
euphoric high, similar to cocaine or methamphetamine, the psychotic results of
the synthetic drugs are far more severe and addictive.
of the serious physical ailments and dangers to the public’s health, this
ordinance finds the sale of synthetic drugs to be a “public nuisance.”
Synthetic drugs are considered a “grave or imminent danger to the public at
large” and may be subject to abatement procedures authorized by county codes.
Sheriff’s Department worked closely with various residents involved in local
coalitions throughout the County who are concerned about the covert effect
synthetic drugs have had on their community.
These dedicated community members have been a driving force in garnering
awareness of this problem and opening law enforcement’s eyes to the extent of
possible sales in the county, McMahon said.
For more information contact:
Lolita Harper, Corporal at (951)318-8101
For IMMEDIATE information please e-mail: