By Othman Laraki, CNN • Updated 27th May 2018
Palo Alto, California, where tech giants are often plotting new products, doesn’t need one right now.
But that hasn’t stopped the city government from becoming part of a national effort to warn parents of a new super addictive drug.
Called ‘4Cabs’ the product contains methamphetamines and is sold in small, clear capsules. It’s being sold openly by a number of wholesalers in San Francisco and other parts of the United States, according to reports from news organizations, the product’s sellers and public health officials.
The substance is being sold online, by word of mouth, or in small boxes at drugstores.
Per a statement from Palo Alto Unified School District: “At this time, our police department, city attorney’s office and the community health department have not received any reports of illnesses or injury from use of this substance. We’re particularly concerned about the significant delay in the notice that have been reported in areas with a concentration of addicts. City, school, and district officials are in discussions with our experts and law enforcement partners to see if additional steps can be taken to inform parents.”
The city itself has a substance abuse problem, according to reports from the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News and other outlets. As many as 100 people died in 2017 from opioid overdoses, said the Times.
While authorities are trying to warn the public about the new substance, the city attorney’s office said it’s investigating to determine whether the laws are being followed and taking enforcement action.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration has posted a warning about the product. “These compounds are extremely toxic and generally require medical attention after consumption,” says the DEA advisory.
The agency warns that the product may be concentrated and be eaten or sucked up. It can also be snorted, injected or if you ingest it orally.
The New York Times says that unless buyers are young and easily intoxicated, the drug is pretty much harmless.
“Unfortunately, from a public health perspective, the threat from this new street drug is to stay the same,” said Harrison Goldman, a professor of addiction medicine at New York University. “It’s just that it’s harder to detect, harder to make and harder to eliminate.”