Updated: Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 6:29 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 6:08 PM EST
CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Just when you thought Indiana's lawmakers curbed a growing bath salts issue, a new problem has emerged. Incense manufacturers have found a loop-hole to make the drugs legal again.
In Clay County, Indiana, law enforcement and bystanders are getting worried about a growing trend.
"Cigarettes are legal, and they’re not good for you,” said Sean, a concerned citizen.
Sean said he's not sure why anyone would use a synthetic drug, legal or not. He's nervous about how it impairs the user.
Manufacturers are changing a chemical component in an illegal synthetic drug to make it legal.
Law enforcement say it's like fighting an ongoing battle.
This new "incense" is similar to bath salts, spice, and K2. But most of the ingredients are the same.
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said the effects of the new drug could be fatal.
“They have the same effects and show the same characteristics as somebody that’s intoxicated while driving. Just as dangerous behind the wheel,” said Sheriff Heaton.
Gas stations, convenience stores and others that sold synthetic drugs before say they’re not making the same mistake. They’re too scared.
We went to seven businesses and every one had the same thing to say.
They will not sell anything related to a synthetic drug from now on.
But these drugs are freely available online.
We found at least 2 websites selling different forms of synthetic substances.
Sheriff Heaton said his hands are tied because the drug is technically legal.
"These are issues we’re going to face and it’s a danger to the public,” said Sheriff Heaton.
The new drug doesn’t fit the current state statute for intoxication or banned substances. Police have to find alternative ways to charge people.
And for Sean, people using the drugs are a bad look for his community.
“It promotes bad business and why do you want people hopped up on drugs driving around with your kids in your vehicle and all this, it’s just not good,” said Sean.
Police say they face a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution, while the community stands by in hope for answers.
News 10 found that legal "incense" could be bought in Evansville, and other nearby communities.
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