Ten substances used to make so-called kiosk drugs were recently declared illegal, after they were added to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, health officials told Haaretz.
Some substances, sold in kiosks under the name Nice Guy, were seized by the police, Military Police, Health Ministry and Customs narcotics unit and were identified by the police’s forensics officers.
The drugs include psychoactive substances including synthetic cannabinoids, hallucinogens, stimulants, drugs that depress the nervous system, mood-changing substances and opiates. Their side effects include addiction, possible psychosis, aggression, mania, muscle pain and kidney damage.
These substances were temporarily banned in the past year but have now been added to the law.
In July 2013 the Knesset outlawed psychoactive substances in drugs that were sold in kiosks. The law authorized the Health Ministry’s director-general to ban distribution of these drugs until they were added to the ordinance.
The kiosk drugs are accessible and cheap, and many young people, including soldiers, use them.
“Synthetic cannabinoids, for example, consist of the same receptors as THC in marijuana, but are 40 times more powerful and at times even more than 40 times stronger,” says Mickey Arieli, director of the Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical-crime unit.
“We receive reports from hospitals and psychiatric hospitals about young people who arrive in total psychotic condition and of incidents involving extreme violence," he said. "Some of them were normative children. Some of the doctors tell us that these are the worst cases they’ve ever encountered and don’t know how to deal with them.”
In one case, a 17-year-old was hospitalized after smoking Nice Guy. A few hours later he told his parents he was hallucinating and his head was burning. He was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward and required prolonged medical treatment, Arieli said.
“One thing we looked into was how the substance is prepared,” he said. “Usually in the lab they take dry leaves of some legal plant and spray them with the powders of the synthetic cannabinoids, after they melt them with acetone. But that’s all. Last year, however, we caught a big lab in Be’er Sheva, which produced 3.5 tons of kiosk drugs. When we examined the acetone we found an anti-depressant medical substance that enhances the synthetic cannabinoid’s strength,” he said.