A Lethal Dose: The war on synthetic drugs

  • They carry names like Bliss and TranQuility, but don't be fooled: Synthetic drugs can be deadly. From a small town in Oklahoma to suburban Minnesota, these products have generated unusual violence and physical suffering. States have responded by banning chemicals found in these drugs, but manufacturers remain one step ahead of the law.

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Ingredients for making bath salts.

Police raided this Duluth head shop in September

Rodger Seratt, above, mixed synthetic drugs in a mobile home lab.

Heather Sharber, 19

  • New drugs fuel wave of violence and death

    Article By: PAM LOUWAGIE , Star Tribune Publish July 24, 2011 2:00 AM / Update September 9, 2011 1:10 PM

    A small town in Oklahoma is grieving for two college students who died after using synthetic drugs this spring. In the past year, more than 20 deaths have been linked to the use of products sold under such innocuous names as bath salts, plant food, herbal incense and research chemicals.

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Inmate Chris Heckman talked about how the use of bath salts ruined his...

CARLOS GONZALEZ * cgonzalez@startribune.com June 22, 2011, Roseville,...

  • Users play chemical roulette

    Article By: LARRY OAKES , Star Tribune Publish September 4, 2011 2:00 AM / Update September 8, 2011 10:33 AM

    Synthetic drugs are widely sold as bath salts and incense. But lab tests reveal substances that can kill.

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These drugs were purchased in local shops or over the internet before...

From the left, counselor Debbie Bolton, Paul McGlynn, director, and student Joe Fischer of Burnsville’s Sober High Charter School.

A selection of synthetic drugs, on the shelf at the Last Place on Eart...

  • Tips, warning signs for parents

    Publish September 18, 2011 2:00 AM / Update September 22, 2011 2:43 PM

    Block drug-selling websites on your computer. Review credit card bills for unusual purchases. Consider at-home drug test kits. And more...

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Police raided this Duluth head shop in September

“Our sales are just insane,” said Jim Carlson, owner of Last Place on Earth in Duluth. He sells fake pot and other synthetic drugs.

Police raided The Last Place On Earth head shop in Duluth Wednesday afternoon, and store owner Jim Carlson's son, Joseph Gellerman, was arrested and taken from the store.

Jim Carlson, left, owner of "The Last Place On Earth" in downtown Duluth.

  • At the Last Place On Earth

    Article By: TOM WALLACE , Publish / Update October 12, 2011 1:39 PM

    Jim Carlson, who has owned the Duluth store for 29 years, predicts police will raid the shop he’s owned for 29 years and arrest him over his synthetic drug sales. But every day that doesn’t happen puts another $16,000 or so in his till, Carlson estimates.

Eight Ballz is a bath salt that contains a newly banned chemical.

  • DEA clamps down on synthetic drugs

    Article By: LARRY OAKES , Star Tribune Publish September 8, 2011 2:00 AM / Update September 8, 2011 4:53 PM

    Federal authorities moved to outlaw three chemicals found in bath salts, a group of synthetic drugs that have been linked to several deaths and thousands of calls to poison control centers.

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Alex Winterhalter

Jill Robinson

Timothy Lamere

The Last Place on Earth in Duluth

Authorities had to dismantle this device, allegedly used to make synthetic marijuana, in order to get it down from the rafters of a garage of a home being built in Alma, Wis., near Winona, Minn.

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