Local officials are making it clear - synthetic drug use in our community is not OK and no longer will be tolerated.
First a local group - Families Against Drugs - went public with protests about the use and sales of synthetic drugs locally.
Last Friday local police agencies pulled the product off the sales racks from four area retailers. A total of 2,761 packets were confiscated after emergency orders were issued by District Health Department No. 4. The orders indicated the sales of such drugs posed an "imminent threat" to the public's health and welfare.
Tomorrow - July 1 - sale of synthetic drugs will be illegal across the state.
The concerted effort of local citizens, area law enforcement, public health agencies, government officials and lawmakers demonstrates just how serious everyone perceived the threat from these drugs, and how, by banning together, changes can be accomplished.
Certainly retailers were not motivated to remedy the situation. We've heard reports the profit margin from sales of the synthetic drugs was phenomenal, and in a perhaps perverted way, the retailers became just as addicted to the profit margins they were realizing as the users were to the product they were purchasing.
Make no mistake about it, synthetic drug use is a slippery slope to a life of depression and dependency. Those who believe they are above addictive tendencies are only fooling themselves, and once that tentacle of addiction grabs hold, the nightmare really begins.
We applaud the residents who boldly put their faces on the front line to protest synthetic drug sales.
We salute the courage of District Health officials, particularly Health Officer John Bruning, who worked hand-in-hand with Alpena County Prosecutor Ed Black and his staff to initiate the orders that removed the drug from merchants' shelves.
We thank area law enforcement for being on the front line addressing this problem, and we commend state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder for being proactive, and addressing this growing epidemic.
Together we can make a difference, as evidence by what the community just achieved.