No more Scooby Snax: Campaign launched to get synthetic drugs off the street

Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley (left) and state Rep. Matt Gaetz at a recent press conference introducing the start of a law enforcement effort to stop the retail sale of newly designated synthetic drugs.

The state and Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office have opened another campaign to stem access to synthetic drugs.

Backed by Florida attorney general-authorized Emergency Rule 2ER12-1, which designated several new psychoactive compounds as controlled substances, Sheriff’s Office deputies hit the streets earlier this week with letters in their hands.

In part, the letters stated: “Accordingly, you are hereby directed to immediately cease and desist the possession, manufacture, distribution and sale of these compounds and surrender forthwith any such compounds which you might possess to the Deputy who has presented this letter.”

Their objectives were 58 Okaloosa County businesses, 11 in Destin, that might be selling products with names like Scooby Snax, Blue Lotus, and Extreme Rush. The Fort Walton Beach Police Department provided the same letters to stores in its jurisdiction.

Sheriff Larry Ashley introduced the operation during a press conference.

Enacting the emergency rule, which allowed lawmen to take immediate action, as law will be a priority for the state legislature when it convenes in March for its general session, according to state Rep. Matt Gaetz. He also was present at the press conference.

The Sheriff’s Office has been engaged in public education and law enforcement campaigns targeting synthetic drugs since the beginning of the year. For example, in March, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Niceville Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office conducted 10 raids at specialty shops looking for substances generically called Spice or bath salts.

According to lawmen, citing incident reports and medical research, synthetic drugs can cause effects such as hallucinations and paranoia, as well as physiological changes such as extreme sweating or unexplained strength and endurance.