Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is taking a stand with members of law enforcement from across the state and vows to crack down on the makers of synthetic drugs that are killing Florida's children.
Bondi says sometimes she feels as if it's Groundhog Day because the serious problem of synthetic drugs keeps coming up.
Last year, she moved to ban certain chemicals used to make new synthetic drugs, known as bath salts or K2. But then the drug makers slightly altered the chemicals in the drugs and were able to sell them legally over the counter in Florida.
The drugs have resulted in some tragic deaths among young people. Now there's a push to pass legislation banning the new chemicals before more people die.
Bondi has a message for these drug makers.
"We have some creative chemists, who I call criminals, and we have a message for these people who are trying to destroy our kids' lives with manmade chemicals. Guys, chemistry class is over and we're going to enroll you in our chemistry class in Florida State Prison because that's where you belong. We're not letting up on them just like we said last year and they thought they would be more creative. Well, look what's happening. So if you have to see us up here every year, you will because all of these people are in the business of saving lives, not killing kids."
The proposed legislation would make it a felony to sell, make, deliver, or possess these new forms of synthetic drugs.
Sen. Greg Evers is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.
"This is a great bill and it brings us one step closer to trying to protect our communities and our children and keeping them safe and stopping the harmful impact of these synthetic drugs."
Jim Madden of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says just because the drugs are available over the counter, people should not think they're safe.
"The misconception is that these drugs, or these synthetic chemicals, are not harmful. It's merely another thing for them to play with. That is not the case. It is a dangerous chemical. We've seen it. We had an issue with the young Stetson University student who actually died following use of a compound called, referred to, as Jazz."
Bondi urges parents to talk with their children about the drugs.
"Parents watch your kids. Tell your kids, tell your teens, even if you can walk in there and buy it and they say it's incense, it could kill them and that is a strong message that we need to send to our parents who need to communicate with their children."