AG Schneiderman Takes His Crusade Against K2 and Designer Drugs To The Bronx

Credit: CM Vanessa L. Gibson/Facebook

Credit: CM Vanessa L. Gibson/Facebook

On  a bright Monday morning, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman brought together a gaggle of Bronx elected officials and interested media to the steps of the Bronx County Court House to announce that his office has filed lawsuits against Erie County-based Surrealistic Sensations, operated by Michael Jamail, and Rockland County-based Liquid Shop a/k/a Liquid Glass Shop, operated by Andrew Grogan for allegedly selling hallucinogenic and psychotropic drugs and street drug alternatives. Like previous cases, the lawsuit filed today seeks a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against the distributors, barring them from selling misbranded designer drugs.

“The proliferation of illegal designer drugs is a national health crisis that is hurting New York families and communities,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “After successfully stopping more than 20 head shops across our state from selling these dangerous drugs, my prosecutors and investigators are tracking down dealers who sell these drugs online and in stores. There is one set of rules for everyone, and if your trade is selling dangerous, mislabeled drugs anywhere in New York State, you must stop — or we will stop you.”

 

Courtesy: Office of the NYS AG

Courtesy: Office of the NYS AG

The Attorney General’s investigation found that the distributors named in the lawsuit were labeling dangerous products with names like “Green Giant” and “Psycho,” and in new formats like psychoactive e-liquids and candies, then promoting and marketing them as “legal highs.” As detailed in the petitions, some products had practically no label information and most lacked comprehensive ingredient lists, warnings, and directions for use, as required by law. Without ingredient disclosure, adequate usage or warning information, the lawsuits allege that the labels are deceptive and the drugs are dangerous for consumers. The investigation revealed sales being made in New York and, in some instances, far beyond New York’s borders. In response to the AG’s lawsuit, a Bronx County Supreme judge issued a restraining order and demanded Surrealistic Sensations appear in court.

 

Courtesy: Office of the NYS AG

Courtesy: Office of the NYS AG

 

State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein hailed the lawsuits filed by Attorney General Schneiderman as rendering another blow to the K2 and synthetic drug industry and he applauded his actions for helping take more of “this poison off the streets.”

Substances such as K2 (“synthetic marijuana”) and other “designer drugs,” promote auditory and visual hallucinations, sedation, euphoria, and other street drug effects, but can lead to addiction, psychosis, acute arrhythmia, asphyxiation and even death.  K2 has been a scourge in many city neighborhoods, especially among the youth and homeless mentally ill  men.

“I will continue to push for my robust package of statewide legislation to criminalize sales of K2, crackdown on businesses engaging  in K2 sales and bring our state’s analog law in line with Federal law to stop unscrupulous chemist’s from tweaking formulas to evade the law,” said Senator Klein.

 

Credit: CM Vanessa L. Gibson/Facebook

Credit: CM Vanessa L. Gibson/Facebook

Citing K2 as an unregulated and potentially deadly substance, Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson said she was proud to be a part of the legislative effort addressing the growing epidemic. “As Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, I am proud that our state’s comprehensive legislative approach will enable law enforcement to target manufacturers and distributors without criminalizing the actions of vulnerable populations and substance abusers,” said Gibson.

“The Attorney General’s actions today and the bills recently passed by the City Council are strong steps toward keeping these drugs off of our streets and out of our grocery stores,” Gibson added.

The lawsuits seek an accounting of all commodities sold or offered for sale by the companies, including the name of each product, the manufacturer and distributor of each product, a description of each product, the wholesale and retail prices of each product and the number of units sold. Federal and state laws and regulations require that all consumer commodities, at a minimum, be labeled to describe net contents, identity of the product, and the name and place of business of the product’s manufacturer, packer, and distributor. Drugs of any kind must be further labeled with particularized directions for use and comprehensive, intelligible warning information.

 

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj said, “The problem of dangerous designer drugs is growing and becoming an even greater threat to our communities.”

Although federal and state authorities have outlawed certain chemicals that are used in designer drugs, and their analogs, in order to remove these items from commerce, these efforts continue to fall short as the chemists and producers providing the products to bodegas and head shops simply alter formulas and formats to stay ahead of the legislation and the public’s notice.

In a Facebook post, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo wrote, “Proud 2 stand w/ NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman & my #‎NYC‬‪ #‎NYS colleagues in efforts to further address the dangers involved w/#‎SyntheticMarijuana‬.”

In response, North West Bronx  community activist Aldo Rafael Perez wrote, “Great Job….. but don’t just stop there. The instance of rehabilitation for all Bronx residents as young as 12 yrs old whom now need medical attention is so much needed. Besides Project Renewal, there is not one Detox center which provides Detoxification or aftercare after [an] emergency room visit.”

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiferman’s  entire news conference on the steps of the Bronx County Court House can viewed here:

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