synthetic drugs

US Drug Enforcement Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in Alabama say they've recovered about $100,000 worth of a designer drug that's so new the Drug Enforcement Administration is still trying to classify the substance.

Etowah County officials say the drug is a white powder called AB-Pinaca. It's used to make synthetic drugs called "spice."

About four pounds of the drug was allegedly shipped from China to a home in Etowah County.

US Drug Enforcement Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Federal agents are serving hundreds of warrants in dozens of cities as part of a continued crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration says agents in at least 25 states began serving search and arrest warrants at homes, warehouses and smoke shops early Wednesday.

The largest single operation is a state-wide effort in Alabama. Agents also are serving warrants in Florida and New Mexico, among other states.

US Drug Enforcement Agency / Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say smoking synthetic marijuana — known as Spice or K2 — has been linked to kidney injury.

UAB researchers conducted four case studies involving four young men who smoked synthetic marijuana and suffered kidney injuries afterward. Researchers say the men visited the hospital weeks after using the drug and suffered from abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.

Fake Pot Is A Real Problem For Regulators

Jul 12, 2012

This week, President Obama signed a law banning synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs. Dozens of states and local governments have already tried to outlaw fake marijuana, which has been blamed for hundreds of emergency room visits and a handful of fatalities.

But the bans have proved largely ineffective, and there are fears that the federal law won't be any different.

Synthetic marijuana looks a bit like dried grass clippings. It's readily available on the Internet and in convenience stores and smoke shops, where it's sold as herbal incense or potpourri.