GBI: New, legal drug gains popularity among teens

ATLANTA — GBI confirms it's seen several cases of a dangerous new sedative drug here in Georgia. The drug is rising in popularity among teenagers, and is still legal in Georgia.

The drug is called etizolam, and is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is also not yet detected in most drug tests.
"This is a drug that one could easily overdose on, and it is getting sold freely over the Internet," said Dr. Ford Vox, who works at the Shepherd Center.
A quick Google search of the product turns up a plethora of pills for sale.
"In particular with alcohol, it can sedate someone to the extent that they can pass out unconscious. Slow respirations, even vomit, and not awaken from the vomit," Vox said.
"I've treated a number of teenagers both here at the Shepherd Center,  and also in Massachusetts that have overdosed on benzodiazepines like etizolam," said Vox.
Reports and online chatter indicate the drug is gaining popularity with teenagers.
"It is shipped from other countries into the United States," said Nelly Miles chemistry section manager for the GBI.  Miles says they've seen several cases of it in northeastern part of Georgia.

"The lab is seeing a lot of new drugs, some of them designer drugs and research drugs, and we find that a lot of people are experimenting with them," Miles said.
The drug is similar to Xanax or Valium, and experts fear it could be used as another date rape drug.
"It has slipped through the cracks  as there is a whole list of substances for which the DEA hasn't gotten around to scheduling or attempting to regulate yet," said Vox.
The GBI crime lab forwarded the most recent discovery to the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency for possible regulation.