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More use of synthetic drugs as published in the Duluth News Tribune

The drugs have exploded in popularity because many of the users said they’re on probation or work at jobs with drug testing and can’t get caught with the real marijuana in their system.

There are drug tests to catch the synthetics, but they cost about three times as much as regular tests, said Dennis Cummings, the program director for Duluth Bethel, which specializes in work release for jail and prison inmates re-entering society. And a user has to be specially tested for the synthetics in his or her system.

Jen Wright, who oversees probation officers as a senior supervisor with Arrowhead Regional Corrections, said her agency is “seeing a dramatic increase in synthetic use.”

“We are concerned with the potential medical and psychological effects of the synthetics,” she said, “as well as how this drug is not just a gateway drug, but rather a drug whose addictive qualities and side-effects are on par with methamphetamines and cocaine.”

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