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Synthetic Drugs Hearing at "Ground Zero"


DULUTH, MN (KDAL) - The hallways and lobby adjacent to a Sheraton Duluth banquet room were packed to the gills Friday afternoon as people jockeyed for position to speak or look on at a synthetic drugs public hearing chaired by Attorney General Lori Swanson.

The meeting, lasting well into the evening Friday, was one block from the Last Place on Earth, which many speakers referred to as "Ground Zero" of the war on synthetics. Seven state lawmakers were there, as were representatives from state agencies ranging from public safety to health care to the Board of Pharmacy.

They all listened to tragic personal stories of individuals and families affected by synthetic drugs purchased legally under names such as bath salts and herbal incense. They heard from law enforcement from Moorhead to Brainerd to Duluth, from the business community and from those working on the front lines at community centers. The primary message: help stamp out the scourge caused by synthetic drugs, and quickly.