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Emerging Twin Cities Drug Trend: Designer Party Pills

July 29, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The abuse of synthetic drugs is the latest trend in the Twin Cities, according to law enforcement experts. At the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Carol Falkowski, state drug abuse strategy officer, has prepared a report on such trends. She explains part of the problem is that anyone can get these so-called party pills and designer drugs online.

"People are somehow erroneously of the belief that, if you buy something off the Internet, that it's somehow legitimate, it's somehow legal and it's somehow safe — and none of that is really true when it comes to these substances."

While the number of users of synthetic drugs is hard to ascertain, Falkowski says a pattern of use is emerging, compared to the relatively rare and isolated incidents of the past. She adds those who abuse these drugs really never know the chemical makeup of what they're taking, and that the drugs' effects are unpredictable.

"And they include these really bizarre hallucinations, psychosis, extreme paranoia, as well as the physical effects that are hyperactivity and increased respiration, heart rate, blood pressure."

While synthetic drugs are appearing with greater frequency, says Falkowski, the abuse of prescription drugs and heroin remain at heightened levels. And for some, it's very easy to get.

"Most parents don't realize that heroin is just a text message away from their 'little angels,' you know — it's very available."

The report also indicates calls to the Regional Poison Center involving drugs sold as "bath salts" are on pace to increase more than tenfold over last year.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN