Designer drugs growing problem in Pinellas Co.

Posted at 11:12 AM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 21:58:40-05

Authorities across Pinellas County are seeing a spike in usage and overdoses of drugs including Molly, Flakka and Kratom.  Now the state, and one local city, are trying to pass stricter laws against the drugs.

Largo Police say in just the past week, there have been several overdoses of Molly.  In these cases, the victims have stopped breathing and have had to be placed on life support.  These drugs can quickly become deadly.

Madeira Beach Vice-Mayor, Elaine Poe, has been working with fellow city commissioners and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to find ways to crack down on the growing problem of designer street drugs in beach communities.  During the commission's workshop today at 2 p.m., commissioners will hear from PCSO Narcotics on how severe the issue is and the best means of enforcing it.

Poe says the greatest challenge right now is that drug makers change one or two ingredients in a product in an effort to make it legal.  She is seeking a more broad ordinance to put all designer drugs under the same umbrella, so that offenders can be more easily prosecuted. 

"These drugs are very dangerous.  We can't let someone get by just because they come up with a new formula," said Poe.

A Florida House Bill is also seeking to broaden the definition of designer drugs and associated penalties. 

You can read the text of that bill here.