The names can change just as fast as the chemical compounds - bath salts, spice, glass cleaner. On Wednesday, a trainer from the Homeland Security Administration came to Canastota with new information for police about treating synthetic drug users. Many of the compounds were developed in Europe as potential pain medication - until distributors found a legal loophole.
"These were designed to be used in research in small doses and what's coming out on the street is no dose regulated so you're just playing with chemical fire," said Jackie Long from Homeland Security.
Eight local police agencies including the New York State Police and Fort Drum Military Police came to Wednesday's workshop. Onondaga and Oneida counties are dealing with some of the highest synthetic drug incident rates in New York
"We address every situation as it comes and we're supported by other police departments so a coordinated effort in this enforcement is what we're looking for here," said Oneida Nation Police Chief Joe Smith.
The effects of synthetic drugs can be very different from drugs like cocaine and heroin. Typically police will restrain someone high on drugs but Jackie Long from Homeland Security says officers need to learn different techniques that take the extreme complications of synthetics into account.
"We're trained to kind of hog-tie them so they can't hurt anyone else but if its the wrong process, they're not able to breathe correctly, they're not able to get blood flow, renal failure occurs - so its about giving them the idea and the tools to properly identify what's going on so they can prevent someone from dying in custody," said Long
While police wait for statewide legislation, the New York State Attorney General has been able to get some synthetic drugs pulled off the shelves because the labels do not have information about the manufacturer or proper health warnings.