Synthetic Drug Testing in Washington, D.C.

Synthetic Drug Testing in Washington, D.C.-Transcript

DC Public Safety Radio


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Leonard: From the nations capital this is DC public safety, I’m your host Leonard Sipes. Ladies and gentlemen, the topic for today is synthetic drug testing. This is a topic of great importance throughout the United States and we have a new capacity here in the nation’s capital as of October 1. To do synthetic drug testing, to discuss this new capacity we have two guests, Leslie Cooper, deputy director of pretrial services agency for the District of Columbia, Gerome Robinson, he is the director of forensics research again for pretrial services agency for the District of Columbia. To Leslie and Gerome, welcome to DC Public Safety.

Leslie: Good afternoon thank you.

Leonard: All right, you know this is a really interesting topic because this is an issue that is, that parole probation agencies, pretrial agencies, criminal justice agencies, throughout the United States are facing right now. We have this new capacity and new equipment, new protocol to test the different people we have under supervision for synthetic drugs. Now, the amazing thing about this is that that’s like twenty-five thousand samples a month, all the samples that we take ordinarily we are to start testing for synthetic drugs. So before getting into synthetic drugs, Leslie, tell me a little bit about the pretrial services agency for the District of Columbia.

Leslie: The pretrial services for the District of Columbia is a small federal entity, we’re actually housed under the umbrella of the court services and offenders supervision agency. We have a fairly simple and straightforward mission which is to promote pretrial justice in enhanced community safety.

Leonard: Is this considered one of the best pretrial organizations in the United States? You have higher rates of compliance, I’ve taken a look at the national averages for pretrial, and the national averages throughout the United States, you have more people returning to trial than just about anybody else.

Leslie: It’s true. I think that we benefit here in DC. We have a very strong statutory structure which allows us to operate from a system that presumes that the best path  is for someone who is awaiting trial is release to the community. Our responsibility in that regard is to conduct risk assessments for individuals who are arrested, and then make recommendations to judges prior to their appearance, and then for those persons who are actually released while [inaudible 00:02:58] we provide the supervision through their appearance.

Leonard: And drug testing. Okay, the presumption in the District of Columbia is release unless there is a public safety reason to hold that person, correct?

Leslie: That it correct.

Leonard: All right so that makes us unique. So it’s not a money bail, in the District of Columbia.

Leslie: That’s correct.

Leonard: Now pretrial does the testing for our agency court services and offenders supervision agency as well as pretrial services, correct?

Leslie: That’s correct, so in addition to our supervision and release detention recommendations function, we serve the primary purpose of providing drug testing for individuals in the adult criminal justice system in the District of Columbia, which includes probation, parole, pretrial, supervised release. We also do some testing for respondents with matters in the DC family court.

Leonard: Okay, but we also do lockup, and this question goes over to Gerome Robinson, director of forensic research for pretrial. Gerome, we have it a bit complicated. We test at lockup, where people who are arrested in the District of Columbia. It is essentially voluntary and, let’s just say 60-80 percent of these individuals do provide samples unless a judge orders it. So, it’s voluntary unless a judge orders it, but the majority do provide samples, correct?

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: Okay. Pretrial, which is the second part of this, is that those court-ordered by the judge, which are the vast majority of individuals under pretrial supervision, right?

Gerome: Yes.

Leonard: Okay. Parole and probation, which is us, court services and offenders supervision agency, like Leslie said, we are a federal agency with a local mission. We tested intake and we do a lot of testing, once or twice a week. It can be that high, you can gradually come off it if you test negative, if you test positive you go back to the original testing schedule, but tests are also based upon the risk level of the person under supervision, do I have that correct?

Gerome: That’s basically correct.

Leonard: All right, so it’s a tri-partied series of tests. I know, Leslie, you mentioned family court and instances, but basically speaking we test at lockup, we test for pretrial, and we test under parole and probation supervision. Those are the three, and twenty-five thousand samples a month.

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: That’s amazing! Twenty-five thousand samples a month, we’re testing for from those three populations, correct?

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: That’s amazing. That’s a lot of drug testing, and we ordinarily test for blood, cocaine, amphetamine, PCP, what else? Marijuana in some circumstances …

Gerome: Marijuana, methadone, opiates.

Leonard: Methadone, and opiates. Oh my Heavens, I forgot opiates. Considering that I’ve been around the criminal justice system for 45 years, how did I leave opiates out of that? We understand that, at all three levels, whether it be lockup, whether it be pretrial, whether it be under parole and probation supervision, some people that come into contact with us are going to use synthetic drugs to escape testing positive. Some sample is going to do that, correct?

Gerome: That’s, yes that’s correct.

Leonard: And there’s research out there that indicates that there are somewhat substantial numbers of people who tested negative but when we retested those urines, we come to find out that they tested positive for synthetic drugs.

Gerome: Yes.

Leonard: Okay, so synthetic drugs is a problem. It’s a problem in the District of Columbia, it’s a problem throughout the United States, and ladies and gentlemen in the show notes, we did a television show about a year and a half ago on synthetic drugs and I’ll be putting the link in the show notes to the television program that we did. So, we’re talking about overall between these three populations and twenty-five thousand samples a month, we’re talking about somewhere in the ball park between twenty-five and twenty-six percent testing positive within any sample.

Gerome: Yeah, overall population.

Leonard: Overall population.

Gerome: Right.

Leonard: Out of all these tests, do we have a sense yet as to who’s testing positive for synthetic drugs? So, we don’t know the number yet because we just started it October 1st.

Leslie: That’s correct, what we have been doing, and I’ll let Mr. Robinson talk a bit about the partnership that we have that started our synthetic testing program, but we started our testing program October 1st and we anticipate having data on the actual prevalence of synthetic use within this population over the next few months.

Leonard: Okay. That is gonna be, the results are going to be instructive as to how many are using synthetic drugs. Now, synthetics can change the ingredients, of what we call synthetic drugs, can change, correct?

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: Gerome, you were talking about, before we hit the record button, as to how you work with the coroners office and the drug enforcement administration and other sources because we have the capacity to change what we’re testing for, correct?

Gerome: That’s correct, and it’s one of the things that has really made this work for us, and for the region, and for the district. It’s the collaoration between the different parties: the DEA, the office of the chief medical examiners, the toxicology unit, the different DC government agencies, social entities, and so on. We’ve all come together to talk about this and give the information and knowledge that we have in our special field. They pulled all that together, and we’re at a good place now in terms of staying close to the cutting edge of the drugs that are coming in, because of this collaboration. The DEA keeps us [inaudible 00:08:33] of what they’re picking up on the packets, and then once we hear that we say, “Well let’s go look and see if we can get a standard on this, or if we can find a metabolite that we can run.”

Leonard: Ah.

Gerome: So that’s what has happened, that’s the key, in my opinion, of why it’s worked so well for us.

Leonard: Okay.

Gerome: Then, of course, we have the support of the agency, the leadership and the agency, to get this done.

Leonard: Okay so everybody’s talking to each other to figure out what we’re going to be testing for, and what it means, so if new trends come up we can be right on top of it.

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: We bought our own equipment to pull this off?

Gerome: Yes.

Leonard: That’s a heck of a commitment.

Gerome: Well, yes, it is, and the last piece of equipment we got was a LCMSMS, which is quite expensive, but necessary.

Leonard: Yeah, prior to that we had all of the instrumentation we needed. So, and I’ll explain maybe later on in the program how we went piecemeal in monitoring this stuff, one technique to another and then moving on to something else, and doing the partnerships and collaboration and all of this. So yeah, they provided the instrumentation that we had prior to getting the LCMSMS, and then they went and they got the LCMSMS, and I’ve been extremely excited and happy about that.

Leonard: Now, we have committed within our budget to test for every sample that comes in. Twenty-five thousand samples a month, we’re going to be testing all twenty-five thousand samples a month for synthetic drugs.

Gerome: Correct.

Leonard: That’s an amazing commitment.

Leslie: It is. We realize, though, the severity of the issue. We, as Mr. Robinson said, are very close partners with the Metropolitan Police Department, with the entire district government, up through Mayor Bowser’s office, with the United States attorney’s office, and everyone is talking about synthetics and with PSA being the agency that does the testing, we recognize that that placed a responsibility on us to actually go out and to procure the equipment that would allow us to provide this critical information to the community at large.

Leonard: Okay but my conversations with my peers throughout the country when we talk about synthetic drugs is that very few people out there are testing for synthetic drugs. We’re not just testing, we’re testing every single sample of every person at lockup, every person on pretrial that’s going through drug testing, every person who’s going through parole and probation supervision through court services and offenders supervision agency, that is a huge commitment.

Gerome: Yes it is.

Leslie: It’s absolutely a huge commitment, again, but out investment in the Washington DC community requires that. Everyone is interested in ensuring and maintaining public safety here in the district and we see it as an investment that’s well worth it. We’re trying to keep DC a safe place for people to live, work, and visit, and we see that as part [inaudible 00:11:35] of our responsibility in carrying out that mission.

Leonard: So the bottom line is, in terms of what it is we’re testing for, the various components of synthetic marijuana, or synthetic drugs, the vast majority, all of those components, we’re testing for and as they change, we’ll change as necessary for all twenty-five thousand samples a month. Again, to me, that’s a huge undertaking that’s not happening throughout the rest of the country. That’s just my information, I don’t know if that’s completely accurate, but that’s the sense that I’m getting from talking to my peers throughout the country. Synthetic drugs are obviously illegal, I mean I want to make that point clear just in case we have anybody caught up in the criminal justice system listening to this broadcast.

Gerome: They have to be scheduled. I mean you have to realize, I think you already know this, that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of compounds that come under that terminology.

Leonard: Yes.

Gerome: Of course, the DEA doesn’t schedule every one of those, they schedule ones that they see as becoming a problem. If they hear of people getting sick or dying from some of these compounds, they’ll put it on their schedule. So, you know, we monitor the schedule that they create, and we base our components on that schedule. So right now, in the LCMS, we’re looking at thirty-one compounds.

Leonard: Okay.

Gerome: The screening looks at about, I think close to the same amount.

Leonard: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Gerome: It depends of what they are.

Leonard: But we’ll change it as necessary, I mean, the coroners office says, “Hey, we’re discovering this new compound.” The DEA, “We’re discovering these new issues at the east coast.” So we can change, and reflect, and report that back to the courts, report it back to the parole commission.

Gerome: I mean, that’s what we’ve seen. When we first started, we saw JWH-018073 and then that dried up, and then we had to move to something else, then UR-144, and the XLR-11 came in. What has amazed me, though, is that’s been several years and UR-144 and XLR-11 are still showing up, and that’s what we mostly see. Recently, they’ve been AB, AB-FUBINACA, AB-PINACA, all these -aca names, have been added to the profile.

Leonard: So the bottom line is, if that person who is caught up in the criminal justice system is using synthetics to get around the drug testing requirements, that person is in for a big surprise, very shortly.

Leslie: That’s the message that we’d like to convey.

Leonard: That is the message, where if you were doing this to get, to fool us within the criminal justice system, that stops on October 1, 2015.

Leslie: Correct. We think that part of the reason why you may see certain spikes in use is for that very reason, that people believe that you can use these substances while under criminal justice supervision, and use them undetected. So we recognize that challenge, we are prepared to meet that challenge to the extent possible. To your earlier point we are constantly trying to keep on top of the changing compounds just to make sure that we are trying to keep pace as quickly as possible with what we see out in the samples.

Leonard: Synthetic drugs, synthetic marijuana, is often times being sold in storefronts throughout the District of Columbia. This is, I want to make this perfectly clear being we have a national audience, this is happening throughout the United States. This isn’t, it’s in Milwaukee, it’s in Los Angeles, it’s in San Diego, and I would daresay for twenty percent of our audience, that are international it’s in your city as well. It looks almost like a pack of hot rocks from years ago, from decades ago, I mean they’re very colorful packets, they look like something that you would buy for fifty cents, like candy almost. You get the impression when you buy synthetic marijuana, synthetic drugs, that this is something that has to be legal because gee, look at the packaging. I mean, heroine’s not packaged that way, cocaine’s not packaged that way, amphetamine’s aren’t packaged that way, this is packaged in such a way to convey to people that this must be a legal drug, because my goodness I’m buying it from the local grocery store, I’m buying it from the local gas station.

Gerome: Also, to attract the younger individuals in the community: teenagers, and so on. Although, a large portion of adult populations are using it too.

Leonard: Obviously, we deal with adults on supervision, we’re talking about, you know, [inaudible 00:16:36], it’s twelve thousand on any given day. The population for pretrial on any given day, Leslie, is about seven thousand?

Leslie: Just over four thousand.

Leonard: Four thousand, I’m sorry. So, right there you’re talking in the ball park of thirty thousand human … I’m sorry, twenty-thousand human beings on any given day. The people going through lockup, I mean that’s tens of thousands of people a year, I’m assuming.

Leslie: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Leonard: I don’t know the number, off the top of my head, so this is an adult population taking this, but the really scary thing is these packages make it seem to kids that this is safe to take.

Leslie: Certainly, I mean the packages are labeled, “Not for human consumption,” however, we know that as they are presented they are fairly attractive and I think you are absolutely correct in that when you see something on a store shelf you make an assumption that it is safe for some type of human interaction.

Leonard: I would make that assumption.

Leslie: So, again, our hats are really off to this city for the efforts that it has undertaken to crack down on the sales of these particular substances. I think they’ve done a phenomenal job with both regulatory efforts and enforcement of those, to really try to get these products out of the stores, just because of the dangers that can be associated with their use.

Leonard: We’re more than halfway through the program, the topic today is synthetic drug testing, the fact that as of October 1 pretrial services agency, who does the testing at lockup, that does the testing for pretrial, and does the testing for court services and offenders supervision agency, those on parole and probation, as of October 1, all twenty-six thousand samples a month, twenty-five thousand samples a month, are going to be tested for synthetic drugs. At our microphones today, Leslie Cooper, deputy director pretrial services agency for the District of Columbia and Gerome Robinson, director for forensic research, again at pretrial services agency. Both of our agencies are federal agencies,

So, what do we see, what do you expect is going to happen come October 1? I would imagine word is getting out, little bit by little bit, to the population that we’re now testing for synthetic drugs. What will that mean?

Leslie: I think what will begin to happen is people will begin to recognize the use of synthetic drugs in a way we already recognize the more commonly known substances. So again, from a risk mitigation standpoint on both the pretrial and the [inaudible 00:19:10] side, what you’ll see is our continued existing response to abuse of any drug. What we do in those instances, when positive drug tests are received on and individual contributor, we coordinate with the releasing authority, alert them to their use, we may impose …

Leonard: Which means the courts, in your case, for pretrial.

Leslie: Correct. For us, it’s going to be the courts on the [inaudible 00:19:31], it will be the parole commission, or the court for someone who is on probation, and so we will notify that releasing authority, let them know what our efforts have been internally, to try to stop the abuse. Then, when we’re unable to stop the use on our end, after providing probably both sanctions and an opportunity for treatment, we then do refer back to either the court or the parole commission and ask them to take action.

Leonard: Okay so the bottom line is that this is a person that could be really facing jail time, prison time, if the person doesn’t comply with their standards of supervision, what is expected of them on the pretrial level, and on the parole and probation level.

Leslie: That’s correct. In violation of a drug test in condition by repeatedly testing positive could result in revocation of supervision, so yes, that’s correct.

Leonard: And we do know that those individuals, taking a look at your data Leslie, the individuals that don’t do well on pretrial supervision are the individuals who are caught up with heavy duty drug use.

Leslie: We do have information that shows that those people who are suffering from some form of addiction tend to do more poorly in terms of their outcomes. Again, our primary outcomes at pretrial are to ensure that they’re not re-arrested during the pendency of their case, and also to make sure that they show up for court each and every time, and we do find that there are variations in the outcomes for individuals who are using drugs actively during the period, yes.

Leonard: We find within court services and offenders supervision agency those folks who were in pretrial, I mean those folks who were on probation or coming out of prison, that it’s the heavy duty drug users who don’t do well, the people with mental health issues, drug issues, co-occurring disorders, so finding out who the synthetic drug users are, and intervening meaningfully in their lives, is part in partial to public safety.

Leslie: Absolutely, we consider substance abuse to be one of the primary domains that is necessary to be examined in order to put together a community supervision plan and that’s either at the pretrial or post-adjudication phase.

Leonard: Criminalogically speaking, that’s been the basis for drug testing for decades. I mean, the best practices as of decades ago, is to drug test, and research indicates that the more you test, the less they get involved in drug use and the less they get involved in criminal-based activities. So, drug testing has been in-partial, and we probably do more of it than just about any other criminal justice agency I’m aware of.

Leslie: I think one of the benefits is that we do have our in-house testing laboratory, so again, having the ability to test in-house and then have a quick turn around for result does help drug testing become a substantial part of the supervision planning process, yes.

Leonard: You know, Gerome, in a lot of agencies, they take their drug testing requirements and they farm them out, and they send them out, to an outside lab, and what we have done, as of, since the beginning of [00:22:49] pretrial …

Leslie: Actually, even prior to that.

Leonard: Really?

Leslie: Prior to that. Pretrial existed prior to that, and Mr. Robinson can probably speak because it’s near and dear to his heart that pretrial was one of the first agencies to actually have it. I think the first pretrial agency to have in-house testing, that dates back to 1984.

Leonard: Wow, and Gerome, have you been around that long?

Gerome: I got here in October 1989.

Leonard: Okay.

Gerome: So, they had a few years on me.

Leonard: So the whole idea is that bringing it in-house, having complete control over the process, is part in partial to public safety. When it’s not sent out, we control the whole thing [inaudible 00:23:31].

Gerome: Yeah, and you can adjust, to whatever is coming down the pike, like Franciscan synthetics, I mean, we’re able to adjust I think very well to testing for this.

Leonard: We control cost that way, correct? I mean, it’s a lot more expensive if you farm this stuff out.

Gerome: It can be, yes.

Leonard: So we control cost and we have the flexibility to move in any direction we want, and I think that’s part in-partial to the federal commitment to the public safety in the District of Columbia, the fact that we have brought it in-house, it’s always been in-house, it’s under out control, and we have the flexibility to move in any direction we want. We’re not dependent upon re-negotiating a contract with an outside vendor.

Gerome: Yes.

Leonard: Okay. So, what is the major misconception about synthetic drugs?

Gerome: First, is that they’re not dangerous, right. That, in the early stages, they may have been not as dangerous as they are now.

Leonard: But they have gotten increasingly more dangerous.

Gerome: Yes, the thing is, they change it so much, they tweak it so much, you don’t know what you’re getting, and so now, like I mentioned, some of those other compounds, they’re coming in. If you remember the problem we had this summer with the people in homeless shelters, overdosing and what not.

Leonard: Yes.

Gerome: I suspect that a lot of these new compounds were coming in and affecting populations.

Leonard: We really never have, it’s not like it’s and FDA approved drug, where they say, “Oh by the way we’ve changed the compounds,” when you ingest this stuff you don’t have a clue as to what you’re ingesting.

Gerome: You haven’t, that’s the big problem, you don’t know what, I mean the chemists don’t know how it affects people, they just change the drug and put it out. There’s no quality control in this business.

Leonard: So what worked in terms of testing last week may not necessarily work immediately because we would have to get the data from the DEA, get the data form the coroner’s office, get the data from other criminal justice agencies and change our formula in such a way to be sure that we’re testing for what’s on the street.

Gerome: Well we have to, of course like you said be aware of those compounds, and work with our partners and the industry to cover those drugs, so that’s a little much, a bit off a lee time, you have to work on that, but it’s doable.

Leonard: Okay, and Leslie, the bottom line in terms of all of this, in terms of the biggest message we want to get out about synthetic drugs, is he folks, we’re testing!

Leslie: The bottom line is do not roll the dice. It is not a safe bet to assume that if you are under criminal justice supervision in the District of Columbia, that you can us synthetic drugs and get away with it.

Leonard: And if you’re not currently under supervision of pretrial or probation or people coming out of the prison system, or just being locked up for it. If you’re locked up and it’s turned into a positive, then that’s something that can’t have an effect in terms of either your release or your future involvement in the criminal justice system. So the bottom line is beyond health reasons, because I’m not quite sure why anyone would ingest something they are completely unaware of what it could do, I mean, the chief of police here in the District of Columbia, Cathy Lanier has said that there are people out there who just pass out, who are committing bizarre behaviors and are being involved in criminal activity. I’m not quite sure that they set out that evening to be involved in bizarre or criminal behavior. I think that being under the influence of synthetic drugs has a way of creating, or contributing to violent behavior, correct?

Leslie: I think you make a very good point in that synthetics pose a tremendous challenge to both the public safety and the public health systems, I’m pleased to hear that within the District of Columbia we are partnering very effectively, I think across both sides of that, just to make sure that we’re covering that from every aspect. I do want to just underscore what you just said, which is that you don’t know what the outcome will be. You don’t know what it’ll be on your health, you don’t know what it’ll be with your status within the criminal justice system, and those to me are two very good cautionary reasons to why you should avoid using synthetics.

Leonard: The Metropolitan police department here in the District of Columbia, and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are cracking down on the use of synthetic drugs, because, again, anything if you’ve ever seen the television show, and we’ll post the television show in the show notes, that we did about a year and a half ago, the packaging of this makes it so conducive to kids who end up taking this, and that could produce a psychotic episode. That could have an impact on a child for the rest of their life.

Gerome: Yes.

Leonard: So this is something that everybody needs to stay away from, and the criminal justice system is now testing it and recognizing it, it’s dangerous, and that’s the bottom line, correct?

Gerome: That’s correct.

Leonard: All right. Anything else that I left out, Leslie? Anything that you want to put it?

Leslie: Just to reinforce the fact that we are definitely committed to continuing to look into new and emerging drugs. My hat is absolutely off to Mr. Robinson and the entire team over in pretrials laboratory, that is actively working day in and day out to identify those new compounds and really help to keep us on the cutting edge so that we, again, can keep the city a safe place to be.

Leonard: Because the bottom line is that the components of drugs are always gonna change to some degree and we’ve got to stay on top of this, and so we are staying on top of it by having folks like long term veterans, Robinson, and bringing in that process in-house and having our own equipment and then committing the budget.

Leslie: Absolutely.

Leonard: To twenty-five thousand samples a month. I want to thank my guests today, Leslie Cooper, deputy director of pretrial services agency for the District of Columbia, and Gerome Robinson, the director of forensic research,,, ladies and gentlemen this is DC Pubic Safety. We appreciate you comments, we even appreciate your criticisms, and we want everybody to have themselves a very very pleasant day.


Synthetic Drugs – DC Public Safety Television

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Len Sipes: Hi, and welcome to D.C. Public Safety. I’m your host, Leonard Sipes. Synthetic drugs, spice, K2, are all references to fake marijuana, littered with substances that are harmful and deadly. They are filling emergency wards and causing long-term physical and emotional damage, yet they are easy to find and often mistaken for harmless, kid-friendly products. To discuss the issue of synthetic drugs in the district of Columbia and throughout the United States, we have two guests on the first segment; Adrienne Poteat, the Deputy Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, my agency. And Ryan Springer, the Deputy Director of the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration, here in the nation’s capital. Welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Ryan Springer: Thank you for having me.

Len Sipes: I can’t think of a more difficult yet important topic, Ryan, in terms of getting the word out that this is something that is extraordinarily dangerous. Spice, K2, synthetic drugs; the word on the street is, my fear is, is that they may not be all that harmful and from all the research I’ve done and all the people I’ve talked to, they are deadly. They are harmful, and they are putting people in psych wards, they’re putting people in emergency rooms all the time. How do we get the word out?

Ryan Springer: I know, and thank you for having me again. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that APRA has now merged with the Department of Mental Health.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Ryan Springer: To form the Department of Behavioural Health.

Len Sipes: Fine.

Ryan Springer: Which is timely, given this issue that we’re talking about.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Ryan Springer: Because, as you mentioned, folks are using these substances and for some they use it once and they’re ending up, you know, with a psychosis … psychotic break. And ending up in a psychotic hospital, psychiatric hospital.

Len Sipes: Right.

Ryan Springer: And so it’s a very serious issue that we’re dealing with, based on a one-time use.

Len Sipes: What are synthetic drugs? I mean there’s hundreds of ingredients.

Ryan Springer: Yes, there are. And so synthetic marijuana is made in a lab. So it’s a chemical compound that folks put together. And so it’s sprayed on dry plant material, for synthetic marijuana specifically, so they make it in a lab, it’s a liquid, they spray it on this plant material and it looks something like marijuana. But they’re adding different scents to it, so that when you burn it or smoke it, it has different scents, aromas, that it gives off.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: But it’s been declared illegal, five or six major ingredients, by the Drug Enforcement Administration, back in 2011.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: The D.C. Council has declared it illegal.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: Yet it still seems to be widely available

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: … on the streets. They may not be hanging up any more … and we have to show pictures throughout the program

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: … as to how kid-friendly … these things look like the older version of pop rocks.

Ryan Springer: Yeah, yeah.

Len Sipes: I mean, Scooby Doo and all the rest of the descriptions, they look like something a nine-year-old would be drawn towards.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: And yet they’re extraordinarily dangerous.

Ryan Springer: It’s one of the big issues that we have with this whole synthetic marijuana. Because it is targeted to kids. And so I want to acknowledge the community for bringing it to the attention of the state. Because this came from our prevention centres, which we have one representing two wards in the district. And so they had a community conversation, and through the folks in the community talking about this issue, talking about the impact they’re seeing on their kids, and MPD also verifying that, they brought it to our attention, there are these things being sold all over the place, to kids. And the impact on the kids is just you’re seeing these kids being very zoned out, not really engaging anyone, and for some, ending up in the emergency room. And so they brought it to our attention, we got this campaign started through some funding from the Federal Government. We’ve moved on from there. The biggest challenge is the fact that the key ingredients, there are over 130-something of the cannabinoids, which is the key ingredient.

Len Sipes: Right.

Ryan Springer: But as you mentioned, the DA’s only allowed about six of those key ingredients. And so the challenge here is even if MPD goes into a store and they pull the product from the shelves, when they go test it, the folks who are making this, they change the compounds on a monthly basis. So if you have a test that tests for one of those six, by the next month they’ve changed the compound and so the test no longer words. And that’s been the challenge.

Len Sipes: We have to debate what the message is to the larger public, but Adrienne..

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: … we at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, we supervise 24,000 people on parole or probation or released from prison on any given year. And so 80% of the people that we supervise come from substance abuse histories. We’re now increasing our testing level for synthetic drugs, are we not? Because before, it was very difficult but we are increasing that capacity, that testing capacity, correct?

Adrienne Poteat: That’s correct. We are increasing the testing capacity.

Len Sipes: And we’re trying to get the word out to the population that we supervise that this is truly dangerous.

Adrienne Poteat: Yes. Not only to the population, but to the staff as well as the community. We want to educate everyone in terms of the effects of this drug.

Len Sipes: Okay. And at the same time, we’re really working with the offender population, with our staff, with everybody, in terms of saying the testing is going to increase. If we see signs of it in terms of our community supervision officers, when they go in the homes, if they see evidence of this, we put them in substance abuse therapy. We try to do certain things. We do accountability tours. We try to up the degree of surveillance, including drug testing for our population, correct?

Adrienne Poteat: You’re absolutely correct, Len.

Len Sipes: Okay. So, for both of you, what message do we give? I remember back in the Sixties it was reefer madness. I remember … and nobody believed the authorities back then that marijuana was harmful to you, and everybody continued to do marijuana. Are we running into that problem now in terms of K2 and Spice and synthetic marijuana? Is this conversation going to be believable to people in the communities, whether they be Washington D.C. or Milwaukee or Hawaii? Is this conversation going to resonate with them?

Adrienne Poteat: Well, we hope it’s going to be believable. You know, if you have a population of 100 and you reach a portion of that then you’ve reached someone. Surprisingly enough, we have taken this message out to the community and we’ve educated them and they had no idea the effects of the drug, how accessible they were. Some of the traumatic effects that it’s had, and some … in that audience, we’ve had ex-offenders that are there as well, and did not have the education about the drugs. So for us to get that message out, at least it has had an impact somewhere because also some of the community has started looking for some of the stores that have attempted to sell that. And the police have asked, you know, either ban the stores or stand up in the community, say, “We don’t want this in our community.”

Len Sipes: Right.

Adrienne Poteat: So it has had some impact somewhere, but we still have a long way to go.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: We were talking before coming onto the set to all of the participants in the program we’re talking about the difficulty in terms of getting the word out.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: In terms of being real. I mean, and some of the folks were saying, you know, if people want to get high, people want to use drugs, this is down at the corner store. It may not be displayed any more like it used to be, but it’s under the counter, it’s being sold on the street. I mean, what message do we give? And I do want to put up your website, by the way.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: What I think is an extraordinarily good website in terms of prevention, prevention methods, and educating both kids and adults.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: And we’ll do that throughout the course of the show.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: But what message do we give that’s convincing?

Ryan Springer: You know, and it’s a good question, because, as you mentioned, we don’t want to get down the path of saying, you know, “Don’t use this because it’s bad.” That kind of a message isn’t really … it doesn’t invite change. And so we’ve been trying several tactics in engaging the community. One I mentioned, the work with the prevention centers, which has shown, you know, great impact. We have communities who are actually engaging their businesses in the community around not selling these things. So that’s one aspect of it. Through the social media, the website and online advertising, we’ve had over … online alone, we’ve had over 25 million hits on the advertising there. And so as Ms Poteat said, you know, we’re really touching a lot of folks, and we expect that out of the millions that we touch, many won’t even start using. But for those who do, our hope is that we can educate the community members as much as possible so that they can then, you know, uh, we can work on community prevention so that they can tell their family members, their brothers, their aunts, their uncles, about the dangers of this drug, that they see themselves. We have a youth core program where we’re training … we’ve trained over 300 youth this year. Where they’re educated on this information so they can actually speak with some authority to their partners and their peers around the ills of using this drug. And honestly, going into a community, they can have a much bigger impact, having used it, or a peer of folks who’ve used it, telling their story better than I can.

Len Sipes: Well, we’re done … yeah, please, Adrienne.

Adrienne Poteat: Now, Len, if I can add something.

Len Sipes: Yeah.

Adrienne Poteat: You know, we’re being a little creative at the agency. We’re even going to put together our own video.

Len Sipes: Right.

Adrienne Poteat: And we’ve asked for participants, whether they’re ex-offenders, to come and participate in that video, so that we can show it in the waiting rooms, when people come into the office, or if we take it out in the community. And hopefully we will have that in production by January or February.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Adrienne Poteat: So, to actually see people that have used, to be able to talk on this video, also I think will be significant for us.

Len Sipes: But the thing … I keep going back to the same thing, that years ago, decades ago, warning people that marijuana was dangerous, we’re now … we’re here saying that synthetic drugs are dangerous. They’re ending up in psychiatric wards. They’re ending up paralysed. Not all of them, because you talk to some people who have used synthetic drugs, they say, “Hey, it’s fine, it’s not a problem, it’s cheap, it’s down the street, I know where I can get it. What’s the issue?” So, to that person, he’s looking at us right now and saying, you know, “You’re not being real with us, you’re not being honest with us.” But the flipside, the emergency room visits and the psychiatric wards and the crippling behaviour, and the crippling consequences of synthetic drug use is real.

Ryan Springer: Absolutely.

Len Sipes: It really is happening, so, on one side, you know, people are saying, “I’ve used it, it’s not a problem, it’s no big deal.” On the other side, you’ve got the three of us who are saying …

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: … “Please think twice about this.”

Ryan Springer: And honestly, I think this was a bigger conversation, other than just synthetic, you know, marijuana or synthetic narcotics. And it’s a, to me, it’s a conversation at the community level around how do we empower communities to think in a more public health kind of mindset and overall health and wellness for the community?

Len Sipes: Mm.

Ryan Springer: And it’s changing that culture so that we, you know, we’re engaging these folks around not using in the first place. Not just synthetic marijuana, but not engaging in risky behaviours. And so the work that we’re doing with our prevention centres is around that and so it’s not just synthetic marijuana, but it’s engaging these communities around, you know, how can we be a healthier community? And to do that, you know, obviously using synthetic narcotics isn’t a good option. But we’ve got to try to build that capacity at the community level.

Len Sipes: Well, within any community in the country, not necessarily Washington D.C., but in any community in the United States you’re going to have an addict-based community. You are going to have a community of people who want to get high. They’ve been getting high since they were young kids. Again, the 24,000 people under Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, supervision on any given year, 80%, 70-80% have histories of substance abuse. So you’ll have that …

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: … built-in ‘I want drugs’ personality. That’s who they are and that’s what they are. Once again, it’s down the street, it’s Scooby Doo and why aren’t the authorities doing more about it? Why aren’t they getting it out of our neighbourhoods? Adrienne, with our population, that’s a tough message to give. It’s dangerous but you can get it right down the street.

Adrienne Poteat: You’re right, and you can. You can just buy it anywhere. Hopefully there’s some of the treatment programs that we send some of the offenders to, they will understand and get a better idea about the impact and effects …

Len Sipes: Okay.

Adrienne Poteat: … doing that. We have some people that have been very successful, regardless if they’ve used drugs in the past or they’ve tried this. Once they got into the programs and they really, really understood the effects and what it has done to their bodies or the minds, or some of the behaviour that they have displayed, some of them have actually stopped and said, “I don’t want to have to be the person that ends up in the graveyard.” Or, “I don’t want to have to be the person that continues to go back to prison over and over again for my constant drug abuse.” So if you reach that one person, I feel that we have done something. We’re never going to reach the entire population. But then you bring those people back to some of the groups that you have, and let them tell the message. Because they’re the ones that have experienced it. They may not listen to us because they will say, “Well, what do you know? You’ve never used the drug.” But those people that have, they are an important factor in the treatment continuum that their message can be important and vital to this population.

Len Sipes: Nobody in this city, nobody in this country has more experience than the two of you right here in terms of dealing with drugs and dealing with people caught up in the criminal justice system. Nobody has more credibility than the two of you right now, in terms of talking at least to the bureaucracy. You’re saying that people should really be staying away from synthetic drugs. You’re saying that it’s dangerous. Am I right or wrong?

Adrienne Poteat: Yes.

Ryan Springer: Absolutely.

Adrienne Poteat: Yes.

Len Sipes: I tell you, thousands, tens of thousands of people are really being screwed up by this.

Ryan Springer: The main message, don’t even think about trying it. Just because … and again, I don’t want to go back to the previous messages of marijuana back in the day, but because you’re seeing people use it once and they’re in the emergency room and ending up in a psychiatric unit for the rest of their lives, there’s that message. But too, if you have a question based on whether it’s your peer or whatnot, come get the information and look it up. is the website.

Len Sipes: Right.

Ryan Springer: And you can get the information from that.

Len Sipes: You get the final word.

Ryan Springer: Yeah.

Len Sipes: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us on the first half of D.C. Public Safety, as we take a look at this very important issue of synthetic drugs. In the second half, we’re going to have two people under our supervision, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. People who know and have a sense as to what’s going on in the street and street attitudes regarding synthetic drugs, K2. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.

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Len Sipes: Hi, and welcome back to D.C. Public Safety. I continue to be your host, Leonard Sipes. We said on the first segment that synthetic drugs, Spice, K2, are all references to fake marijuana. And they’re filling emergency wants and causing long-term psychological and emotional damage. Yet they’re often very easy to find and mistaken for harmless kid-friendly products. To continue the discussion on synthetic drugs in the District of Columbia and throughout the country we have two guests who are currently under the supervision of my agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. They are Jonathan Fox and Derek Nixon. And gentlemen, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Jonathan Fox: Hello.

Derek Nixon: Hi

Len Sipes: I appreciate you guys being here. Now, what is the … you’ve heard on the first segment the three bureaucrats, me and Ms Poteat and Ryan Springer, talking about synthetic drugs. You guys are on the street, you’re out and about, you’re seeing what’s happening, you’re experiencing what’s happening. What did we say on that first half that makes sense to kids on the street? Anything?

Jonathan Fox: Everything you said was actually correct. You know. But you just, you know, left out the part that the problem with the drug started before the user.

Len Sipes: Right.

Jonathan Fox: It goes back in the history of the child, you know. And peer pressure.

Len Sipes: Right.

Jonathan Fox: That plays a big part of, you know, using the drug.

Len Sipes: Well, but, you know, people, we were talking about in, in the green room before coming out here today, there are people want to get high, they’re going to get high and synthetic drugs are right down the street and they know who’s selling them. They’re reasonably priced and they’re hard to pick up by my agency in terms of the drug test. And so we start doing more drug testing, which we plan on doing. I mean, so, to a lot of people who want to get high, their point is ‘why not?’

Jonathan Fox: Mm …

Len Sipes: Either one?

Jonathan Fox: Main thing …

Len Sipes: Go ahead.

Derek Nixon: No, go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.

Jonathan Fox: No, I was saying like the, you know, the main thing the gentlemen with the CSOSA agency is that, you know, they’re doing testing. And they’re testing for, you know, mostly hard drugs. And they’re using this as a substitute now, knowing that, you know, it damages them worse than the actual hard drug, marijuana.

Len Sipes: But if that’s the word on the street, is the word on the street that synthetic drugs actually do damage? Or is that just the price of getting high? I’m …

Derek Nixon: It’s on … the word is on the street that, you know, it has certain side effects but, like he just mentioned, it’s just basically a substance … cause we all … we all on urines for hard drugs and there’s … this doesn’t show up. So that’s like why not do it? You know?

Len Sipes: Well, that’s what I hear.

Len Sipes: That’s what I hear from you guys and talking in the green room, and other people before coming on and doing the program today. But I, you know, we talked about the first segment of what happened back in the 1960s and 1970s with marijuana. Bureaucrats like me got up and said, “It’s dangerous.” Nobody believed us and nobody cared. So my fear is, is that we’re going to … some twelve-year-old little girl is sitting there today, watching the three of us right now, whether it’s in Washington D.C. or somewhere throughout the country, or somewhere throughout the world. Because this program’s going to be on the Internet for years to come. And she’s going to say, “Well, I know where I can get some of this,” and why not do it? What do we say to her?

Jonathan Fox: You’ve got to look at the effects that it’s taking. It’s killing the brain cells. It’s making you slower reactions, you know. And it’s just not … it’s not like marijuana. It’s worse than marijuana, actually. You know, because of the chemicals and the stuff that they’re making it with.

Len Sipes: On the street right now, we were talking before about the fact that currently in the District of Columbia, people are seeing the posters at the bus stops, they’re seeing the posters on the buses themselves. They’re seeing it out in the community, talking about K2, Zombie, and talking about it being dangerous. Does that have an impact?

Derek Nixon: It does, it does. But it does have an impact. Well, if someone wants to get high on K2, they’re going to do it. You know?

Len Sipes: Right.

Derek Nixon: So basically it’s like … you want to get the word out there, the word is out there on the bus stops, metro and all that. But if someone will do K2, they’re going to do it.

Len Sipes: Right.

Derek Nixon: It’s just plain and simple.

Len Sipes: And that’s just about with any drug.

Derek Nixon: With any drug, right.

Len Sipes: And see, that’s the thing, it’s scaring me because these packages look kid-friendly, and I’ve got that twelve-year-old girl, I saw the segment the other day where a young teenage girl, twelve or thirteen years old, she is now paralysed for the rest of her life. She’s in a wheelchair for the rest of her life because of synthetic drugs. I mean, this stuff is real. This issue is real. It’s a real problem for real people, but I’m not quite sure we’re convincing people that it’s a real problem.

Jonathan Fox: I’m just starting to see the campaign has gone more harder than what they were, you know, and I believe they should have to, you know, really show an example, you know, just by, you know, giving the posters, saying to these youth out there in the streets that, you know, don’t do K2, it turns you to Zombie, I don’t … me personally, I don’t think that’s going to reach. I mean, that’s good to get the message out there, but I think we should have more damaging evidence towards that, you know.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Jonathan Fox: And show them, just like you said, you know, you’ve seen this twelve-year-old girl paralysed from the effects of synthetic drugs.

Len Sipes: Right.

Jonathan Fox: I mean, I think these youth should see the effects of this, see her, you know, say … and let her, you know, let her, you know, tell her story, if she can speak.

Len Sipes: But, you know, throughout the last couple of decades, drug use has gone down and gone down considerably. So somebody is making a decision. I mean, the criminal justice system, we can’t force people to not to do drugs. I mean, somewhere along the line, this is people making up their own minds not to do drugs for that … to have that level of drop over the course of the last two decades. So it has gone down, so there’s obviously a point where people are saying, “This not in my best interests to do heroin or do cocaine or do whatever,” but when it comes to K2, you don’t know what it is you’re doing. At least with cocaine, at least with heroin, at least with the other … marijuana, you have some sense as to what you’re getting into. With K2, with Spice, with synthetic drugs, you have no idea what you’re putting in your body.

Jonathan Fox: That goes back to just what I said. You have to show, you know what I’m saying, the chemicals and ingredients that’s in this synthetic drug. Just like, you know, back …

Len Sipes: But we don’t know. I mean, there are hundreds of them.

Jonathan Fox: I mean, you know, just like back in the day when they showed the pork, you know, they put the pork on the wall …

Len Sipes: Right.

Jonathan Fox: … they had it sit in the sun, then, you know, maggots came out the pork and a lot of people backed up from pork.

Len Sipes: Okay.

Jonathan Fox: You know, same thing with synthetic. You have to show damage and effect, you know. And this is the cause, and this is effect.

Len Sipes: So, my point is, is that all of us know people or have talked to people directly that have done synthetic drugs. Some people walk away from it unaffected. And then they are going to tell their friends that, “Hey, it’s no big deal.” And other people are going to emergency wards. Is the word on the street that it’s dangerous or is the word on the street that this is something worth trying?

Jonathan Fox: Both, cause, you know …

Jonathan Fox: Addicts, you know, addicts are going run to it, you know. Addicts are going to run towards it at their own risk.

Jonathan Fox: Yeah, exactly, you know. Addicts going to run towards anything that they feel as though is going to take them to the next level of high. You know. And for people in the lower realms you know, there, they probably back up saying like, “No, I’m not trying to go there.” But it’s …

Len Sipes: Right, so if you wanted … if you’re looking for that high, K2 is not going to get in your way. The warnings are not going to get in your way. But it’s the people on the edge, the parents of people on the edge, people who maybe swung one way or the other, we can talk to them. Or is it possible?

Jonathan Fox: It’s possible. Anything worth a try. You know, my saying, there’s nothing beats a failure than a try, so .

Len Sipes: Alright. What do we tell parents?

Jonathan Fox: You have to educate them on it first of all. It’s just like, you know, the ingredients of a drug is like case law. You can read it in two, you know, languages. You know, so you have to make it concise and scoop down to their level and explain it to them. Because once you read in the ad,
you know, there’s ads up there on marijuana, there’s ads on crack cocaine, there’s ads on … all type of drugs. But they still continue to do it.

Len Sipes: Doesn’t anybody get ticked off over the fact that, you know, you take a look at these packages and they’re so kid-friendly. They look like something an eight-year-old wants to go and chew on, just because they’re Scooby Doo and they’re just so friendly and colourful. I mean, they look like they’re trying to market to seven and eight-year-olds. I know that there are kids, eleven, twelve or thirteen who are confused about this. I mean, you’ve got to say that at least a seven-year-old, an eighteen-year-old, a twelve-year-old, you’ve got to say that, man, this is stuff that can really, really harm them.
Jonathan Fox: If you think about it …

Len Sipes: Am I right or wrong?

Jonathan Fox: You definitely right, and I agree with you. The thing about it, a drug dealer is heartless. You know why? Because he doesn’t know the effects that he’s having on his community. You know, with starting casualties, wars, you know. People are getting sick, people who are stealing from their family. So a drug dealer, they’re not going to think of the effects when he’s packaging his product to sell to the community, because all he’s thinking about is the dollars. So these big companies that’s issuing these packages, they’re going to make them colourful and enticing for kids or whoever to come to them, cause colours attract people, you know.

Len Sipes: But that’s a thing that gets me, now. I understand the dealers with heroin, I understand the dealers with cocaine. I understand the dealers with crack. These are being sold by store owners.

Jonathan Fox: I don’t want to cut you off but, you know, but …

Len Sipes: Go- cut me off

Jonathan Fox: … I don’t want to cut you off, but it … you cannot separate a K2 seller from a crack seller, cause both of them are drugs.

Len Sipes: Right.

Jonathan Fox: They’re still a drug dealer.

Len Sipes: Alright, they’re still a drug dealer.

Jonathan Fox: You know.

Len Sipes: No doubt about it.

Jonathan Fox: You know, and if you sell it … see, you know, if you sell it in a store or …

Len Sipes: But some of them …

Jonathan Fox: … you sell it on the streets.

Len Sipes: But some of them are businesspeople, right? I mean, they’re running gas stations, they’re running …

Derek Nixon: That’s the gas.

Len Sipes: … convenience stores. They’re running all these different things, and so I mean they’re business people.

Jonathan Fox: And the thing …

Len Sipes: And so are drug dealers, I fully understand that.

Len Sipes: But is there a way of reaching … can a community just basically say, “Stop it.”

Derek Nixon: Like you said earlier though, the community have to get together and say, “We don’t want this in our community.” You know. Go to a store, petition it, you know, boycott a store. Just, you know, do a protest in front of the store. Cause I’ve seen that on the news before that this is a … one community, they don’t sell no K2 no more. Lady’s son … so I guess he went to the emergency room or whatever. And a lot of parents got together and said, “We don’t want this in our community.” And they forced it out. So if you can do that in certain communities, then that might be a start to get it out. But it may move somewhere else. It’s going to go somewhere else. You see what I’m saying?

Len Sipes: So is there a way of galvanising the community around K2? Is it really possible, or is everybody … don’t care? I mean, is it really possible to galvanise a large proportion of the community, to simply say that this is dangerous and, “I want it out of my community.”

Jonathan Fox: You’re going to have to start with a community. First you’re going to have to have some advocates to actually care about the youth. And, you know, know that the youth are our future. You know, so you’re going to have to have somebody with the knowledge and common sense to go into the community and explain to our citizens that, you know, this drug is definitely harmful, is hurting our kids, you know, is not good at all. You know, there’s going to have to definitely be a campaign on it.

Len Sipes: Yeah.

Jonathan Fox: You know.

Len Sipes: We’ve only got a couple of minute left. I, as I told you before the program, whenever I do a radio or television show, I have somebody that I envision talking to throughout the course of the show. And I envision … my vision is talking to the twelve-year-old, thirteen-year-old girl who I saw the other day in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, paralysed by using K2. So I’m talking to her before she made the decision to use it. She thought it was harmless. What do we say to her?

Jonathan Fox: Don’t even try, you know. Don’t fall into peer pressure, you know. Don’t do it cause you think it’s cool, because it does have the zombie effect.

Len Sipes: Yeah.

Derek Nixon: It does have the zombie effect. It kills your brain cells, you know what I’m saying … the more you know, the smarter you are, and you’ll never be smart doing K2.

Len Sipes: An opinion?

Derek Nixon: Yeah, just like you say, just don’t fall under peer pressure to try it. Well, you know, want to K2 or you want to see how it is, I just want to know what it is. But you really shouldn’t do it, that’s all. You know, that’s to the kids out there, don’t. It’s not worth it. Totally don’t use it, you know. You know, just don’t use it.

Len Sipes: And even if you have direct experience or your friends have direct experience of using it and it doesn’t have those incredibly harmful effects that we’re talking about, next time around, because they’re constantly changing the ingredients, so next time around they could have …

Jonathan Fox: Right.

Len Sipes: … those incredible effects.

Jonathan Fox: Right.

Len Sipes: What are we saying to the parents? Same thing?

Derek Nixon: Same thing

Derek Nixon: And monitor the kids more. You know, I mean, be more involved in their kids’ life, cause like kids are acting out of their age these days, you know. They’re doing stuff that shouldn’t be done. So parents should monitor their kids more and also check, you know, check on, you know, what are they putting in their system.

Len Sipes: Right.

Derek Nixon: Maybe educate their kids on the side effects and consequences of smoking K2.

Len Sipes: Well, you, what we have to do is also at the same time and from the bureaucrats, we have to get them involved, we have to get the parents involved, we have to get the community involved. I just fear that the word is not being crystal clear. I just feel that they’re going to sit back and go, “Man, I’ve done it, my friends have done it. It ain’t about what you’re saying. You’re exaggerating what the harmful effects are.”

Derek Nixon: No, you can’t exaggerate when you’ve got proof in front of you. People go by what they see, you know what I’m saying, not by what they hear. You know, if I say you, you know, something like, “Your watch is gold,” you know what I’m saying? Or, “My watch is gold,” you know what I’m saying, you’d want to see it. You wouldn’t want to hear what I’ve got to say. And that’s what society is going to turn to, hearsay, instead of more action being taken, is hearsay. Or you know if you do that you’ll get locked up? But they do. They still do it. You know, a youth will still do it, you know? Until he actually get locked up, say, “I ain’t doing it no more.” You know. So, you know, you’ve got to be educated on it.

Len Sipes: Well, they’ve got to educate the kids, they’ve got to educate everybody, that’s the bottom line, right?

Len Sipes: Well, thank you for being here, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for watching today. Please take a look at the website that’s constantly being posted through the show. Please educate yourselves, please educate your family, please educate your children. Look for us next time as we look at another very important topic, in today’s criminal justice system. Have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

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