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      Officials give parents and children a lesson in synthetic drugs

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Officials link reports of increased ER visits and deaths to the use of synthetic drugs across the country.

      Authorities in Columbia warn parents and children there is nothing fake about the risks of using synthetic drugs.

      K2, Salvia Divinorum, and bath salts are sold over the counter at many convenience stores and available on the internet, but not marketed for human consumption. However, these synthetics are proving to be as harmful as the real thing.

      It TMs dangerous because it is not monitored and there are no regulations of what goes in it, says LRADAC Prevention Specialist Cecily Watkins.

      Watkins explained the hazards of using synthetics to a group of community members on Monday as part of the 8th Annual National Youth Violence Prevention Week.

      Luevenia Bluefort says she has heard of synthetic drugs, but didn't know the side effects of using them.

      In today TMs time it seems like any and everything goes, says Bluefort, especially when it comes to making a fast buck.

      While federal law bans the purchase and consumption of K2, which is similar to marijuana. Salvia Divinorum and bath salts are still legal.

      Officials encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of using these drugs or any type of synthetics.