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Duluth Police: Synthetic Drug Calls 'Skyrocket'

Posted at: 03/06/2013 5:23 PM
Updated at: 03/06/2013 5:36 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Recent self-mutilation incidents in Duluth highlight a surge in synthetic drug calls according to police.

ER doctors in Duluth echoed that on Wednesday saying they see the disturbing problem daily, sometimes from repeat patients.

Police Chief Gordon Ramsay has been vocal about synthetic drugs and their effect in Duluth.

He was out of town on Wednesday, but Commander Eric Rish said some strange incidents are emerging from an increase in service calls.

“In the chief's post today on Facebook he talked about a male that had been outside naked and spreading feces all over himself. That indeed was an event that just happened here in Duluth days ago,” Rish said.

On his blog Ramsay also wrote that synthetics were involved when a man recently dug out his eye with a fork.

Rish said not every call is so dramatic, but synthetics are using up more police resources everyday.

“It's an absolute daily occurrence,” Rish said.

He estimates there are 6 calls a day involving synthetic drugs throughout Duluth.

Synthetic drug use is a concern for local hospitals too.

Doctors at St. Luke's emergency room said that synthetic drug use isn't something they've been tracking, but they have noticed a recent increase in cases involving the substances.

Doctor Todd Struckman said he sees the symptoms everyday.

“We're seeing more and more of this each day in our emergency department and it's a big burden on us,” Struckman said.

He said even with the adverse effects of synthetic drugs he has seen repeat patients.

“My only concern is for their own well-being showing up repeat times is not an effective use of health care and it's a diversion of resources from people who need it in other ways,” Struckman said.

Synthetic drugs are having impacts on users according to doctors and police. Both groups said the amount of money and resources spent on synthetic drugs is becoming a burden on the community.