Synthetic drugs are a growing problem in the District and it is one that city leaders have been fighting hard to put an end to. But that task is being made more difficult because of how readily available they are.
Law enforcement sources say these drugs are produced outside the country in places like China and Mexico. They are then brought into the United States under the pretense of incense and potpourri and are distributed throughout the country.
The District of Columbia has pledged a war against synthetic drugs and those who sell it. A week ago, a local store in Northeast D.C. was the first to be shut down after Mayor Muriel Bowser signed emergency legislation that would close a business for up to four days and impose a hefty fine for selling synthetic drugs.
But you don't need to go to a store to buy it. You can purchase it online and ship it directly to your home.
“This is outrageous,” said ANC 5D Commissioner Kathy Henderson. “This is a public safety nightmare. A public health crisis.”
It is as simple as being in your living room and having a computer at your side with your credit card ready. With just a couple of clicks, you can purchase the synthetic drugs, and in a few days, it is in your mailbox.
Henderson, a proponent of the emergency law, said more needs to be done. She told us her ward is the epicenter of a “zombie corridor.” It is a stretch between Bladensburg Road and Benning Road where you can spot those under the influence of these drugs as well as the stores selling it.
She blames the 20 percent uptick in crime on this new drug epidemic.
"Everyone is working to respond to the uptick in crime,” Henderson said. “The economy has improved and we are supposed to be coming out of the woods. Now this Scooby [Snax] and Bizarro epidemic is reminiscent of the crack wars and we don't want to return to those days and we can’t return to those days.”
Many of these online stores are based out on the West Coast and even have call centers set up for customer service. Depending how large a quantity the purchase is, they even offer free shipping. And according to reviews, it is just a matter of a couple of days before it is in your hands.