"Bloomington, Normal and Champaign have significant numbers of
college students who have been enticed to purchase and use these
illegal and dangerous products," Madigan said. "Retailers in these
college towns should be aware that law enforcement will soon be
walking through their front door to ensure that these dangerous,
illegal drugs are not for sale."
Madigan said that officers from the
Normal Police Department and the McLean County Sheriff's Department
participated in a synthetic drug sweep of several retailers:
Global Tobacco, 614
1,341 packs, $21,476.78
2303 E. Washington
1,290 packs, $17,990.10
Smoker's Den, 606
626 packs, $6,518
Price Rite, 706 N.
186 packs, $4,650
Convenience, 1919 S. Main
61 packs, $1,033
Discount Smoke & Pop, 1415 N. Main
148 packs, $2,070.52
"Our goals are awareness and voluntary compliance with the law by
store owners so that these illegal and dangerous drugs are not
available to young people to purchase and use," said Robert Wall,
assistant Bloomington police chief, whose agency requested an
"Operation Smoked Out" be conducted in the twin cities.
"I appreciate the time and resources that Attorney General
Madigan puts into this initiative in our collective effort to get
these dangerous products out of circulation," said Sheriff Mike
Rick Bleichner, police chief in Normal, said law enforcement
agencies will keep the pressure up on retailers to ensure they
aren't supplying these dangerous products to shoppers.
"We are always willing to work with the attorney general and
other local agencies to do our part to ensure that these illegal
products are off the shelf," said Chief Bleichner.
Champaign store sweeps
Also on Tuesday, Champaign police
joined Madigan's investigators for a synthetic drug sweep of several
retailers in that city, including:
Global Tobacco, 202
873 packs, $13,290.27
Smoke Shack, 208 E. Green
1,811 packs, $43,567.90
[to top of second column]
"With these businesses sitting in the heart of our campus
community, keeping our teens and students safe is a priority for our
department," said Chief Anthony Cobb of Champaign. "The Champaign
Police Department thanks the attorney general's office and
associated agencies for a proactive approach to removing synthetic
drugs from our city streets."
The rise of synthetic drug use can be seen in the dramatic increase
in calls to poison control centers across the country about
synthetic marijuana and "bath salts," which are another synthetic
drug type containing chemical compounds that mimic the effects of
cocaine or methamphetamine. In 2010, poison control centers
nationwide received 2,915 calls related to synthetic marijuana use.
That figure jumped to 6,890 calls in 2011. Additionally, reports of
bath salts were made to poison control centers 303 times in 2010. A
year later, the centers received 6,072 calls about bath salts.
Since November 2011, when the attorney general hosted the
first-ever statewide emergency summit on synthetic drugs, she has
been working to increase awareness among state, county and local law
enforcement officers, educators, health care professionals and
parents on the dangers of these drugs. Since then, Madigan's office
has conducted numerous workshops with prosecutors and law
enforcement personnel statewide.
The attorney general also has proposed legislation to target the
retail sale of synthetic drugs.
House Bill 5233 proposes to define a "synthetic drug product" as
one that contains a controlled substance not regulated by the U.S.
Food & Drug Administration. The bill also addresses the fact that
these drugs are sold in packages with misleading labels claiming the
products are legal. The bill further makes it illegal under the
Illinois Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act to sell these drugs and
significantly increases the penalty for selling synthetic or
Many states, including Illinois, initially responded to the rise
of synthetic drug use by passing laws that banned specific formulas
of synthetic marijuana and bath salts. Drugmakers attempted to
sidestep these laws by replacing the banned chemicals with new
formulas. A recent Illinois law that went into effect on Jan.1 takes
a broader approach and bans all chemicals that are structural
derivatives of the previously banned chemicals. Madigan's
legislation would complement this current measure.
[Text from file received from the office
Illinois Attorney General Lisa