Synthetic Cathinone Pops Up in Jax
Okay, so Jacksonville may not have the theme parks of Orlando, the adult entertainment offerings of Tampa, or the marquee collegiate sports programs of either Gainesville or Tallahassee. It might not have the bad rep of its cross-state rival Panama City either, let alone that certain Redneck Riviera notoriety. But the city still has some size to it. Serious size. In fact, population-wise, Jax remains the Sunshine State’s largest. Add the fact that it also tops out as the largest city by area in the contiguous U.S. and, well, you’ve got a ripe marketplace for drugs like synthetic cathinone.
So it really wasn’t too much of a surprise to see the DEA issue a warning concerning drugs and Jacksonville. What was a tad odd though was how vague the warning happened to be. Heck, if not for the DEA letterhead (so to speak), nobody would’ve suspected the agency of even being involved.
Warning: N, N-Dimethylpentylone Hydrochloride
Actually, we couldn’t find a link to the actual warning. We know it exists though. It must. Because News4Jax wrote all about it. And USF’s Health News Florida linked to the story. Better still, U.S. Customs and Border Protection filed an official story covering a Dulles airport bust that brings the whole story home.
The point is the Drug Enforcement Administration wants folks to know that N, N-Dimethylpentylone Hydrochloride has made its way to Northeast Florida streets. It would also like us to know that N, N-Dimethylpentylone Hydrochloride is categorized as a Cathinone, a natural stimulant that comes from a plant. In this case though, it’s synthetic, meaning it’s a concoction of who knows what dangerous chemicals.
Think bath salts only dirtier — and dumber. Yet another synthetic narcotic that people are buying in chunks and then cutting into powders to snort, inject or smoke.
The drug was first found in Sweden in 2014, wrote News4Jax reporter Erik Avanier, then seven years later, it showed in a United States toxicology report. Very little is known about it, other than the fact that, as of 12 months ago, it started showing up in the Jacksonville metropolitan area.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mike Dubet
Jacksonville DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Dubet said law enforcement officers are finding that the younger generation possesses the new drug in area nightclubs and bars.
“It’s very cheap, about $150 to $200 per ounce,” Agent Dubet said. “It’s an alternative that people are turning to just because of the price and the effects they are getting from it.”
While those effects do apparently mimic cocaine, MDMA, Ecstasy and/or methamphetamine, there’s no way of knowing to what extent. In fact, one batch may be all energy and euphoria, while another is pure aggro and angst.
Agent Dubet said it could make a buyer very unhappy.
It might also make that buyer very dead.
“So, people are buying what they believe is cocaine. Or people are buying what they believe is ecstasy when in fact, it’s this chemical that has similar effects but could be a little more intense and dangerous,” he said.
Synthetic Cathinone By Any Other Name
News4Jax reporter Erik Avanier has been everything from a helicopter reporter to a weekend weatherman over his 20+ years in the biz, yet it’s a bet he never met a challenge quite like Synthetic Cathinone. Heck, just looking at the drug’s official name is enough to unnerve an on-camera operative. Actually saying the name aloud, well, that could shut down even the most practiced practitioner. And yet Avanier repeatedly kicked out the phrase “n, n-dimethylpentylone hydrochloride” as if he’d been chatting about it his entire life.
Avanier is a pro alright. A real pro. Not just in the pronunciation department. Heck, given the fact that the reporter really wasn’t given much ammo for this story yet still somehow managed to file something coherent proves the guy’s got a gift with the craft.
It also proves the guy’s crafty.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Avanier previously served “as a one-man-band investigative reporter” for Chattanooga, Tennessee CBS affiliate WDEF and is therefore well-versed in pivoting at whim.
Perhaps he’s just adept like that.
Have you made the scene along Atlantic Beach, Amelia City or one of Northeast Florida’s many beachside communities lately? Have you come across any of the new synthetic cathinones? What name was it given? Cocaine, meth, X? Remember, synthetic cathinone is sold as anything dealers think will seal the deal.
The dealer might know what you’ll buy (especially once you’ve got a few drinks in you), but they won’t know what they’re selling. Even those who stomp on the stuff themselves can’t be sure what came before them.
Or what will happen after. Folks have been known to suffer seizures after snorting as little as one line of a synthetic cathinone. They’ve also been known to experience temporary blindness and inadvertent spasms. In other words, you don’t know. And you won’t know until it’s too late.
The only sure thing is that it won’t be any old school drug. But it can cause all kinds of new school havoc.
Why risk it?