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COLUMN: Fight against synthetic drugs culminates in Operation Log Jam

— Late last year, I introduced legislation to ban synthetic drugs from our state after many local people were reportedly ending up in the emergency room as a result of synthetic drug use. Many reported high blood pressure, high temperatures, severe paranoia and hallucinations. The media reported violent outbursts and instances where it took several people to restrain one person high on synthetics. The State Department of Health issued a ban on the synthetic drugs from being sold, but the ban did not give police the tools they needed to punish the crime.

It became common to read about the abuse or influence these synthetics were having on our community. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wrangled with how best to ban the drugs that kept labeling their products as non-edible and changing their chemical makeup to circumvent the law.

Finally, a federal law passed and recently became effective, which listed more drugs on the controlled substance list. As a result, a collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement effort resulted in the recent synthetic drug raid known as Operation Log Jam on July 25. Operation Log Jam was a coordinated effort between local, state and federal law enforcement officers who had collected evidence and raided local shops and sellers of synthetic drugs. They coordinated the raids to occur at or around the same time across the nation. Police officers and undercover investigators collected evidence to raid the shops. Though this has not stopped synthetics altogether, it has sent a message that there will be consequences for those who sell and for those who use.

As it turned out, after the DEA released its map of all the places that were raided, Upstate New York had a high concentration of synthetic drug peddlers. According to the DEA map, which showed arrests made during Operation Log Jam, 14 of the 109 cities targeted were located in New York state. This was the highest concentration of raids in one state.

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