The Pryor Times

March 21, 2014

DA falters at seminar

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — District Attorney Janice Steidley shared her knowledge of synthetic and designer drugs at an educational seminar Thursday.

Only a handful of individuals made it to the event, including law enforcement officers and representatives of Locust Grove and Pryor's Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol organization.

Steidley began by explaining that  K2, also called Spice, is a synthetic drug that has been illegal since November 2012.

Steidley said K2 is accessible to all ages and is being sold in convenience stores, despite being illegal.

“This is truly a lethal drug,” said Steidley.

Steidley was assisted by District Attorney Investigator Tommy Dunlap.

“The common thought is that K2 will help you relax. This is false,” said Dunlap, adding that side effects include hyperventilation, hallucinations, increased heart rate, bloody noses, vomiting, prolonged migraines and seizures.

In addition, Dunlap said, the drug also has a high rate of addiction like methamphetamine or cocaine. It can cause severe paranoia leading to brash or malicious acts, and can leave users in a psychotic state.

Dunlap said the product is made by laying grass clippings out on a flat surface. The clippings are then sprayed with chemicals from a bug sprayer.

“The chemicals aren't sprayed evenly, so some gets dosed multiple times while others get none. New chemicals are added to the sprayer before it's empty, so there's no regulation of what or how much,” said Dunlap.

Steidley said possession of synthetic marijuana is a Schedule 1 felony and can carry from two to 10 years in the Department of Corrections.

“Kids think synthetic is not a real drug so they don't have to worry about it,” said Steidley. “We want parents to know what to look for. The best prevention is education.”

Steidley said the price ranges from $25 to $40, so if parents notice their child asking for that amount of money every time they go to the store, it might be an indication of drug use.

Steidley listed a manufactured drug known as “bath salts” as another major problem in the area, though local law enforcement said that particular drug hasn't been much of an issue in Mayes County.

Concerning underage drinking, Steidley said studies have shown women are more likely to provide alcohol to underage drinkers.

Steidley moved to discussing prescription drugs.

She provided a listing of secure Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics drug drop-off locations.

Investigator Jason Treat, a special agent assigned to the OBN, pointed out that Mayes County Sheriff's Office should have been included.

Amber Sparks, a representative of Pryor CMCA, asked Steidley about her enforcement of the social host law. Sparks wanted to know why no charges are made on social host law violations. Sparks, quoted Steidley’s previous remarks, asking for clarification.

Steidley faltered between saying the law had been looked at and it had been charged. Steidley said it all comes down to evidence.

Kathleen Kennedy, the representative from Locust Grove's CMCA, asked about law enforcement's qualification to perform compliance checks.

Steidley said compliance checks are handled by ABLE (Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commis-sion).

“ABLE only deals with alcohol, not 3.2 beer,” said Kennedy, a fact local law enforcement confirmed.