Most local convenience stores join fight against synthetic drugs

Ashley at Govt Issues

Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley addresses the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce Government Issues committee about the problem of synthetic drugs.

Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM.

CRESTVIEW — A majority of Okaloosa County’s convenience stores reportedly has joined an effort to combat synthetic cocaine sales.

Sixty of some 80 convenience stores, including area Tom Thumb stores, have accepted the "Gold Star" retailer designation, declining to sell so-called bath salts.

They can display a "Sheriff's Gold Star Retailer" placard, which features the warning, "Synthetic drugs kill" in large letters.

It would take about $10,000 worth of bath salt packets to produce a soothing bath, Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley said Wednesday during the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's Government Issues Committee meeting.

Contents of the packets — many featuring cartoon figures and names like Scooby Snax — get kids high, he said.

Before state Attorney General Pam Bondi used emergency powers to outlaw synthetic drug sales, almost every convenience store in the county sold the products, Ashley said.

Identifying the drugs takes time, but a partial solution to the concern is to make bath salt ingestion illegal, just as "huffing," or concentrating and inhaling a chemical, is illegal.

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