Michigan authorities are trying to crack down on the increasingly common use of a new synthetic drug.
The drug, Cloud 9, is a liquid sold in a small tube. Just like the synthetic drugs Spice and bath salts, Cloud 9 isn’t marketed as a drug. It’s sold as incense or aromatic oil.
According to Fraser, Michigan Public Safety Director George Rouhib, Cloud 9 is an intense stimulant with effects similar to methamphetamine or MDMA.
“They’re putting [Cloud 9] drops on their tongue, or mixing drops with chewing gum candy and soft drinks,” Rouhib says.
At least 9 Michigan teenagers have been hospitalized in recent months from Cloud 9 overdoses. Westland Deputy Police Chief Todd Adams says people on the drug often lash out violently.
“They smoke it, put it into pop and ingest it or put it on marijuana to smoke it, use an E-cigarette or they could use a hookah," Adams told the Detroit Free Press. "It causes crazy hallucinations and violent outbursts."
Adams said officers are trying to get the drug off of shelves, but that’s easier said than done. As with other synthetic drugs, chemists can change one or two ingredients in Cloud 9, rebrand it, and start selling it again.
"Cloud 9 is listed as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. However, the street chemist will simply change the chemical compound by adding or removing a chemical and give it a new name," Adams said. "This causes problems for the police and prosecutors and makes it difficult to take enforcement action."
Adams says educated parents are key in stopping Cloud 9 use.
"It is a clear liquid in a small bottle. I don't think it has an alcohol odor," Adams said. "Parents might find a small bottle with no label. We want to educate parents. The kids could say it's air freshener or incense. The parents may not have seen drugs like this before."