‘Fake LSD’ thought to have killed teen part of a frightening trend
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent July 6, 2013 10:30PM
Updated: August 8, 2013 6:59AM
The recent death of a Valparaiso teen from a fake form of LSD is part of a new wave of hallucinogenic “designer drugs” — also known as synthetic drugs — coming into Northwest Indiana.
The trend hasn’t reached epidemic proportions in the area, but it is coming, according to Guy Baker of the Drug Enforcement Agency office in Merrillville.
“I guess they feel that it’s not illegal to use these drugs. Of course, they don’t know what they’re ingesting. It’s sort of a crap shoot what they’re taking into their bodies,” Baker said.
The DEA saw fake LSD appear in the region about October or November.
Federal law enforcement is buying it and analyzing the different versions to see what their chemical make-up is, and they get an emergency order to make each version illegal until they can legislate the overall structure.
“None of that’s illegal until we start getting it tested to see what’s in it,” Baker said.
The manufacturers, usually in Asia, change one chemical compound in the formulas to keep ahead of the laws, much as manufacturers did with synthetic marijuana and bath salts before federal law banned their main components in July 2011.
Baker said the drug appears to be coming here from Chicago.
He didn’t know of significant seizures in Chicago or Merrillville, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department said they haven’t seen much designer drugs.
The fake LSD’s newness and that it’s often sold as LSD has hindered law enforcement, though.
Bob Taylor of the Porter County Drug Task Force first heard of an LSD problem after federal agents interviewed a Portage High School student, but his team wasn’t aware of any in the area.
They became aware of designer LSD about March and April, although as early as the end of last year, they bought candy that was supposed to contain LSD.
“It’s entirely possible it had synthetic stuff sprayed on it, but we didn’t know it existed,” he said. “We were getting (laboratory) results back that there was nothing there. And we pushed it further because we know we couldn’t be buying what we would call ‘bunk dope’ over and over again.”
It also takes time to test.
Porter County was waiting for laboratory results on a synthetic they bought from Jeffrie Brian Crucean Jr., 18, of Union Township in April when a 17-year-old teenager died on June 25 after allegedly using the synthetic LSD.
Crucean allegedly sold a synthetic to the teen, who hallucinated, had a seizure and then died from cardiac arrest.
Taylor said that since that death, he’s getting more calls, including one during his interview for this article from a parent who heard from her child about a dealer.
Dangers and sales
Unlike with the synthetic marijuana and the bath salts that got press after a Florida homeless man was said to be on them when he chewed a man’s face off, designer LSD isn’t sold in stores or gas stations.
Business owners know that with the marijuana and bath salts, they could lose their business license in addition to other penalties, Taylor said.
Dealers selling the fake LSD spray it on paper made to look like LSD blotters.
However, where LSD would be one drop per square, this is sprayed unevenly, so doses are uncertain.
Taylor described the high as a cross between LSD and mescaline and said that the 17-year-old’s attempts at chewing cups is something those on mescaline do.
The fake LSD could have serious side effects like the bath salts, he said.
Other designer drugs
Baker said that besides the synthetic LSD that has been coming into the area, there is also “Molly,” a street name for MDMA.
Molly is short for “molecule,” an indication of its laboratory origins, and MDMA is illegal because of its use in Ecstacy, a drug that became popular in the late 20th century and at rave parties.
Internet sites state that Molly doesn’t kill from overdoses, but at Washington State’s June 30 Paradiso Festival concert, one person died and dozens were hospitalized for using what appears to have been Molly cut with other drugs, according to AP reports.
There’s also “faked” synthetic marijuana.
Taylor said that although stores and gas stations no longer sell synthetic marijuana or bath salts, his team has busted five dealers that bought a compound they spray on plant material like chopped grape leaves or oregano.
They also caught one person using a curling iron to re-seal old synthetic marijuana bags filled with sprayed material, Taylor said.
See the video of the interview with Bob Taylor at www.post-trib.com