Tulsa Veterans Court discourages synthetic drug use

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Updated: 1/18/2013 10:44 am Published: 1/17/2013 9:52 pm

The United States Navy released a Public Service Announcement about a synthetic drug use problem with sailors and the Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court is also trying to combat the issue.

The released video shows the demonizing effects bath salts have on a person from that person’s perspective and then from the viewer’s perspective.   

“When people are using bath salts, they are not themselves,” said psychiatry resident from the Naval Medical Base in San Diego, Dr. Lt. George Loeffler. “Some people describe people spying on them; other people talk about seeing demons and things trying to kill them. What’s concerning about bath salts is these delusions will last long after the drug has worn off—sometimes weeks after.”

Tulsa District Court Judge Rebecca Knightingale has watched hundreds of veterans walk into her court with drug issues, but she said in the last two years the rise in synthetic drug cases has climbed.

“I think military and non-military people, too, are using the synthetics drugs because those were not traceable in drug tests, but now that has changed,” said Judge Knightingale. 

In the last several months the Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court has sent its defendants’ samples to a laboratory that can test for synthetic drug use. 

Oklahoma State lawmakers banned more than 250 chemicals used to make synthetic drugs in the last two years, but the problem is drug designers are able to create new variations of the chemicals that slip past lawmakers.  This presents a challenge and another challenge is accessibility. 

“Synthetic drugs are easy to access over the internet,” said Judge Knightingale. 

She worries about how dangerous the synthetic drugs are on people who are not in the military, and hates to imagine what they could do to a military member with access to military weapons. 

“Let’s assume your job is to work in a grocery store and you are erratic because of the synthetic drugs you’re taking, you may be putting your family at risk and yourself at risk, but you’re putting our whole country at risk,” explained Judge Knightingale.  “If you are in the military and you are a trained infantry man where you regularly use weapons, and you have erratic behavior that’s a combination we cannot afford to have.”

She hopes the military service members who are using synthetic drugs learn that she will test them and that those chemicals can and will be traced.

For the full video to the Navy’s PSA about bath salts:


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