Drug Lacing: “You shouldn’t put your life at risk”


Design by Katie Lins.

Joe Kottke and Elisabeth Oster

  “With Xanax, you’re supposed to feel relaxed because it’s made for anxiety. I started hysterically crying for four hours. I just wanted to be alone; I was super depressed,” said an anonymous WHS student, who allegedly had an experience with laced Xanax
  Drug lacing—an outside substance being added to a substance to make the drug act in a different way—has created a growing concern in the United States and has affected Minnesota high schoolers.
  According to the National Forensic Laboratory Information Library 2017 report, instances of drug lacing—particularly with fentanyl—have been on the rise in the midwest since 2001, but a sharp and steady increase since 2014 has led to multiple public health advisories in states such as New York and Tennessee.
  According to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Statewide Gang and Drug Coordinator Brian Marquart, the three most common substances that are laced with or added to drugs are pills (such as laced Xanax), illicit drugs in the form of a powder (such as laced cocaine), and synthetic cannabinoids (such as laced K2 or Spice).
  The anonymous student said that chemicals or other substances are often added to the sold drug to create a larger amount in order for the dealer to make a better profit off of the purchase.
  According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drugs may also be laced with drugs that may increase “euphoric effects” or purely from accidental contamination from rushed cleanup after packaging a different product.
  “I’ve seen kids pass out from lacing, have to go to treatment, or even one of my friends totaled her car after taking a laced substance,” said the student. “I think people should know Xanax doesn’t come in the milligrams that dealers are selling, and no doctor would prescribed 300 Xanax to one person at once.”
  “It’s bad enough that they are going to use any drug to modify their thinking and their behavior,” said Marquart. “But it’s even more compounded when they have no idea, the person they’re buying from might have no idea, about what has been put into that substance.”
  “You shouldn’t put your life at risk to trust people you’re buying from,” said the student.
  When a drug comes from overseas, the dealer may not even know that the item is laced. Even so, it is just as common that a drug may be laced by the dealer, according to Marquart.
  “Much of our substances coming in overseas right now is being laced with fentanyl,” said Marquart.
  The CDC announced in December that Fentanyl had surpassed heroin as the deadliest drug in America as it was involved in 28.8 percent overdose deaths in 2016.
  Two bills passed the Senate this September to prevent overseas deliveries of drugs often used for lacing: The Synthetic Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act, introduced by   Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, and the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, also introduced by Klobuchar as well as Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
  According to a press release from Klobuchar, the SALTS Act will close a loophole allowing dealers to pretend that such drugs are not “intended for human consumption.” The STOP Act will prevent synthetic drugs from being transported from overseas through the postal system.
  “We are very troubled to have as many people addicted to substances in Minnesota,” said Marquart. “Any young people that are starting to use any substance—alcohol, marijuana, a prescription—they’re using substances to escape reality. I just want them to enjoy a full life.”