Terrebonne Parish part of global crackdown on synthetic drugs - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Terrebonne Parish part of global crackdown on synthetic drugs


Houma, La. - Terrebonne Parish narcotics agents fan out to convenience stores and houses in a search and seizure mission known as Project Synergy. It's the culmination of a six-month long investigation of synthetic drug sales.

"It has destroyed many of our young people. It has burnt their brains. It has destroyed their lives," says Terrebonne Parish District Attorney Joe Waitz, Jr.

In Terrebonne Parish, 11 people were arrested and agents seized a quarter of a million dollars worth of synthetic drugs and a half a million dollars in cash. Two suspects remain on the loose.

The crackdown is part of a global initiative going after those who make and distribute the synthetic drugs. Agents executed 150 warrants in 35 states and five countries.

The drugs are often marketed as herbal incense, bath salts or even plant food and have caused addictions, overdoses and emergency room visits.

"I literally tell the patient it scares the hell out of me what you're doing to yourself. I am very concerned," says Ray Worthy, M.D.

Dr. Worthy says the drugs are especially popular among young teens because they're currently undetectable in conventional urine drug tests. He also says there are two main classes of synthetic drugs; one is similar to marijuana and the other is similar to amphetamines, often known as bath salts.

"It can cause high blood pressure, vomiting, dehydration, heat stroke and then it alters your mental status," says Worthy.

"I've seen and witnessed so many different young people and their parents come into my office and kids are destroying their lives," says Waitz.

While law enforcement agencies go after those responsible for distributing and manufacturing the drug, there's also a campaign to raise awareness.

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