Synthetic drugs, becoming major problem in area

According to Cooper County Juvenile Officer Jeremy Collyott, the drug problem in the Boonville area is transitioning from marijuana use to more synthetic drug use. Synthetic drugs may be more costly but they are also not detectible in most tests. Collyott said minors can find these drugs at novelty stores in the area. The main difference between the two is price, as marijuana is much cheaper. He said the reason there is difficulty testing for it is because synthetic drugs are constantly changing and the tests are much more expensive. "By changing one molecule in a drug will transition it from illegal to legal," Collyott said. He said the primary use is by smoking, which comes in a potpourri form as well. When individuals are caught, he said it is up to the law enforcement agency to determine if they want to prosecute as a felony or a misdemeanor. He also added the difference in how the individual reacts to the drug is very different. He said people who do synthetics may have a reaction that is far greater than that of marijuana, making the individual seem crazy. During a drug forum late last year, the Boonville R-1 School District has been putting possible drug testing on the table. During the forum, one of the main issues was cost. While the district has a long way to go to implement policy, the discussion of testing for synthetic drugs has been an issue during the school board meetings as well.