Cherokee County begins new initiative to fight synthetic drugs

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Updated: 9/30/2013 11:58 pm Published: 9/30/2013 11:56 pm

A new initiative to combat synthetic drugs is now appearing on store doors in Green Country.
FOX23 first reported it in July.

The Tahlequah Smoke Shop was one of the first businesses to start promoting the sticker, "We provide a Syn-Free Zone," on their front door this week.

The shop is usually busy on most days after 5with people lining up to get tobacco products.
But unlike some smoke shops, people won't find synthetic drug products here.

"How often at this store do you hear of people asking for the synthetic stuff?" asked FOX23's Dontaye Carter.
"About three or four times a week," said Kelly Callaway, a smoke shop worker.

"It's bad on kids and you never know what's going to happen taking that stuff," he said.

His sister owns the shop and put the sign on the front door and drive through window hoping to get this message across.

"We do not sell it and we do not want them to take it," said Ann Granger.

Fox23 found out she's one of 12 businesses that agreed to put this sign up.

"The No. 1reason we wanted to do this is to raise awareness," said Cindy Farmer, the director of the Cherokee County Juvenile Drug Court.

She was one of the creators of the sticker. She says her staff all helped to create it. Farmer told FOX23 it gives supportive businesses something to talk about with their customers.

"As a parent knowing what I know about synthetic drugs I'm not going to go into businesses that support or sell these products," said Farmer. "I want to go into businesses that I know do not do it."

Granger agreed. She believes it is a message that should be shared. Her grandson was a victim of synthetic drug use and she saw the effects first hand.

"Hallucinations, not knowing where they were, what they were doing, just really weird stuff," she said.

"I think it's a very big problem in Tahlequah, in Oklahoma, everywhere."
Granger knows she can't save everyone from getting their hands on this product but this is a start to fighting back.
"We don't want to be associated with it. We're putting that sticker there letting them know we're here
to help combat it," she added.

Farmer says a business would donate $20 to the Juvenile Drug Court to use the sticker. The money would go back to the agency. Currently, lawmakers outlaw certain chemicals used to make the synthetic drugs but they continue to change. Officers see the effects on the street.

If you would like to get involved, you can reach Cindy Farmer at 918-931-2648.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Cm1986 - 10/24/2013 9:12 AM
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I am so glad that they are raising awareness of these synthetic drugs. This stuff is bad. I ended a 5 year relationship with my child's father because of "spice." I wouldn't leave my 4 year old with his own father at home because of it. I saw what it did to him. He thought he was dying on many occasions, was hallucinating frequently, and I could barely understand a word he said. But he kept doing it. I got to the point that I couldn't deal with it anymore. we had $60 to our name and he took half of it and bought spice. I told him to throw it away. I didn't care about the money, I just wanted it out of my house. He wouldn't. No one can tell me that its not addictive, or that its "synthetic marijuana." Meth isn't the only drug that makes people lose everything they love.
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