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WJBD - Local News - Synthetic Drugs 'Biggest Law Enforcement Problem in Town', Says Salem Police Chief

Salem Police Chief Ron Campo holds up a bag of Synthetic Drugs, which he cites as a serious problem in the community.

Synthetic Drugs 'Biggest Law Enforcement Problem in Town', Says Salem Police Chief

Salem Police Chief Ron Campo says without a doubt the growth of use of K2 and synthetic marijuana is the biggest law enforcement problem in town.  He told the Salem Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon the scope of the problem can been seen by the number of calls they are making to Salem Township Hospital.

"The emergency room will call us a couple times a week with somebody they cant control...I have to send two officers over there to manhandle the male or female who is freaking out on this stuff" Campo reported, "and its not just the bath salts, but the K-2 as well."

Campo says the problem has been difficult to prosecute because the substances are manmade and with a little tweaking the chemical may no longer be on the list of compounds that are considered controlled substances.   As a result, charges often cannot be pursued until lab tests are completed.  However, he says a new law that can go after the dealers for selling a product not approved for human consumption as well as a city ordinance is helping.  Campo reports the department is also seeking forfieture of homes and vehicles involved in the drug trafficking to fight the problem. He says the synthetic drugs act just like methamphetamine and are extremely addictive.  Campo says the low cost of the individual packets of the drug, between $3 and $5, makes it attractive to those in the low income bracket.   

"It's very readily accessible, drive across the border to Missouri you can buy it and bring it back." Campo said of the substances, "The guys in the community are helping us the best, they tell us when there's a lot of foot traffic coming from a house, and we'll set up a case."

Campo says the synthetic cannabis is absolutely worse than the real cannabis.  He noted heroin was not near as much of a problem as the synthetic drugs.  

On another issue, Campo commended the city manager for coming up with a solution to the city's lack of animal control, which was the police department's number two problem.  He thinks the use of the Jefferson County animal shelter and expanding Paul Wimberly's role as animal control officer is a great solution.  Campo said his officers were handling three to five complaints a day for animals they could not capture because there was no place to take them. 

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