CHICAGO (Reuters) - Amid efforts by authorities to stop the use of illegal synthetic drugs, revelers at a spring break party in a Minneapolis suburb overdosed this week on the risky substances, leaving one dead, officials said on Saturday.
Ten other people were hospitalized and Timothy Richard Lamere, 21, of Blaine, Minn. is likely to face murder charges for allegedly providing the synthetic hallucinogenic drug 2C-I, said Anoka County, Minn. Police Detective Larry Johnson.
Minnesota lawmakers have been seeking a ban on chemicals used in common synthetic drugs, based upon legislation approved by the House last month.
Two days ago, Iowa Rep. Sen. Charles Grassley proposed a similar ban on chemicals used in such synthetic drugs such as Spice and K2 synthetic marijuana.
At the Minnesota party, Trevor Robinson, 19, the father of a five-month-old infant, died of an overdose and ten other people ages 16 to 22 were hospitalized, Johnson said.
Charges of third-degree murder were likely to be filed against Lamere on Monday, Johnson said. All of those hospitalized have been treated and released, he added.
Johnson would not disclose how the young adults acquired the drugs but said they are widely available via the Internet.
The drugs’ availability, as well as their emerging chemical complexity and popularity, make regulation difficult, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said.
“This stuff comes in from other countries, and people just have no idea what they are getting,” Payne said.
Although 2C-I is not a scheduled drug under the Controlled Substances Act, it is considered illegal because it mimics a controlled substance.
It is taken orally or snorted in a powder form, according to the DEA, who recently put a one-year ban on five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana, Payne said.
“We have chemists and forensic scientists constantly evaluating chemicals on an ongoing basis, but there hasn’t been any federal legislation passed on those substances yet,” Payne said.
Reporting by Eric Johnson, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst