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Sheriff’s Forensic Science Division alerts public to new types of uncontrolled synthetic chemical substances



Criminalists with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division want to make the public aware that they are beginning to see new and different forms of uncontrolled manufactured chemical substances which are pushed as an alternative to illegal drugs.

The Division recently received a sample of 25I-NBOMe. This substance is packaged and used like LSD and can produce a similar and equally dangerous effect if consumed.

The Forensic Science Division also recently tested a sample of 2C-P, another new manufactured synthetic drug that is available over the internet and produces a wide range of effects.

A third substance received by the Forensic Science Division is 5-MeO-DALT. This synthetic psychedelic tryptamine is marketed much like bath salts or synthetic marijuana and can cause visual distortion along with feelings of paranoia and panic if ingested. At high dosage, it can cause retrograde amnesia.

Criminalist Diane Machen warns that all of these substances are extremely dangerous if consumed and expressed concern that children may be the likely target of pushers who mislead younger people into believing these substances are okay to use because they are not illegal.

“The fact that these drugs are not illegal doesn’t make them safe,” Machen said. “Synthetically manufactured substances are incredibly difficult to regulate because manufacturers continually change the formulas to stay ahead of regulation. This complete lack of oversight means that it is impossible to predict the true effects and dangers of an individual dose.”

“Using these substances is essentially the chemical equivalent to Russian Roulette.”

Machen said that the recent samples received by the Sheriff’s crime lab present a snapshot of an emerging manufactured substance problem faced by every community in northern Nevada.

Machen stays in constant communication with investigating chemists across the country and around the world to stay up-to-date on new substances as they begin to appear in different areas.

“Synthetically manufactured substances present a far-reaching, international problem that knows no boundaries,” she said. “The best way to protect ourselves and the ones we love is to stay informed about the latest trends in substance abuse, especially when it comes to substances that are not illegal.”

Know what to look for and talk to your children, she said. Make sure they are cautious about what they’re consuming and where it’s coming from. All it takes is a slight modification to an illegal substance to turn it into something that can still get a person high without being against the law.

“For this type of product parents need to be proactive,” she said. “Our children are vulnerable if they don’t understand the damage that can be caused and we can’t help them if we aren’t educated ourselves.”

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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