CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - There are some new names for what local authorities call the most dangerous drugs on our streets right now.
"What we're seeing is what's called glass cleaner. Again, it's not glass cleaner. We're also seeing fish food, jewelry cleaner," explained Agent Mike Alford with the SEMO Drug Task Force.
Alford and his partner shared these new names for bath salts with a roomful of drug abuse prevention advocates in Cape Girardeau Tuesday.
The agents also showed the crowd several video clips of users going from happy, to hallucinating in a matter of seconds.
One man screams in fear from the back of a squad car.
Another user hangs off a bridge as big as the Emerson Bridge in Cape.
Alford says it's these violent, unpredictable reactions that make synthetic drugs so dangerous.
"People lose consciousness or lose touch with reality," officer Mike Alford said. "And then the officers or the citizens have to deal with those people when they're in those states."
Alford described a recent incident in Cape Girardeau where a man came barging into his neighbor's apartment.
"He was high on bath salts. He went into an apartment thinking it was his apartment. It obviously wasn't his apartment. It was a family of a female and some children. He basically just walked in the door, sat in the kitchen, and stared at them," said Alford.
"You're left with that feeling of what can we do?" asked program coordinator Sharee Galnore, a member of the Southeast Missouri Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. "How are we going to combat this thing?"
The meeting served as a wake-up call for many in the room, myself included. We learned there are several businesses in Cape that will sell you small packets of "glass cleaner" kept under the counter.
We also heard the agents admit, seizing synthetics doesn't help since it takes months to test them.
"It's very frustrating," Alford said. "The law is unable to keep up with the chemical molecules of the bath salts at this point."
I asked Galnore what surprised her the most about the synthetic drug presentation.
"How easy it is to buy the synthetic drugs," Galnore answered. "And the way it is here in our community. Much like any other, we tend to think it's somewhere else, but we have to contend with it right here in our own community."
Bath salts and K-2, or synthetic pot, are illegal in Missouri.
Alford says because the law is very specific about synthetic ingredients, makers simply change one of them and then that law doesn't apply.
He says it's going to take more city, state, or even federal action to stop curb the problem.