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Deputies try new approach to stopping synthetic drug use | Crime

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Deputies try new approach to stopping synthetic drug use
Crime

SPRING HILL, Florida -- The use of synthetic drugs is a dangerous trend the Tampa Bay area law enforcement is struggling to slow down.

That's why deputies in Hernando County are trying something new, which doesn't involve a single arrest.

This week deputies are going door to door, educating more than 100 businesses about the dangers in the drugs that sit on their shelves.

Letters are being handed out that detail which chemicals in things like K2 are now illegal.

"They play a key role in helping us keep the community safe," said deputy Rose DeJesus, "we've gotten a very positive response."

But what deputies can't do is force stores to stop selling products that are still legal, often labeled something like incense, which has the same hallucinogenic effects.

Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis points out the laws haven't kept up with the chemists.

"For the good of the community, they ought to stop selling it because if it's not illegal today, it will be in the very near future," he explained.

Business owners, though, argue if they stop selling they lose customers, because a store nearby will continue. They also say it's very hard to keep up with the ever-changing laws on which products are legal.

"We're not trying to sell anything that's illegal," said Dave McGillivray, a Hernando County business owner.

Bills currently in the House and Senate are aimed at banning more chemical compounds, which were designed to get around laws passed last year.

Hernando deputies plan to continue educating local businesses about what's illegal after this legislative session.

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