Synthetic drugs a growing problem in the U.S.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The copy-cat drugs that killed 15-year-old Ethan Rickman are not a new problem, but their use is rapidly growing.

Drug Recognition Experts Bob Welsh and Tracey Durbin said there are hundreds and more are being made every day. What's even scarier is that they are available to anyone with internet access and a credit card.

Charging documents state the drug a teen gave Rickman was blue squares of paper wrapped in tin foil. It wasn't true LSD, but rather a research chemical.

"Those belong in a research facility and not on the streets," Durbin said. "These are different."

Durbin said most synthetic or imitation drugs come from unregulated labs in China or India and there is often no way to know what is in each drug.

"It's like playing Russian Roulette with your health," Durbin said.

Durbin also said the most frightening development is the recent discovery that synthetic heroin has made its way into the United States.

Nicknamed "crocodile" for the green color it turns skin, this drug is also incredibly deadly.

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