Nightly News | July 26, 2012
>>> big story in the u.s. today concerning what have become the big illegal drugs of choice these days. a nationwide crackdown on the so-called synthetics. the products that are marketed as bath salts , sometimes even plant food, but when taken illegally they make people high. they're mind alt ergo. they've been banned by law but are still available and the feds worry they're being marketed on the sly right at kids. we get our report tonight from nbc's mark potter .
>> reporter: around the country this week agents in hazmat suits burst into warehouses and home made labs to seize 5 million pacts of synthetic drugs and the dangerous chemicals used to make them.
>> it's become a national problem and the nation should be very concerned.
>> reporter: synthetic drugs burst on to the scene a few years ago and are sold in convenience stores and gas stations and online as incense and plant food purportedly not for human consumption but in reality authorities say they are powerful stimulants used widely by a growing number of young people for whom the packaging is des island.
>> scooby doo , scooby doo . these are clearly marked to target kids.
>> reporter: many users as seen on this sheriff's video have suffered emotional and physical trauma, even death.
>> these are substances that are known to be stimulants that can cause psychosis, agitation, paranoia. they basically turn -- can turn a person into a wild beast .
>> reporter: the raids took place in more than a hundred cities after authorities warned synthetic drugs are spiraling out of control.
>> we are seeing both domestic manufacturing of these illicit drugs and we're also seeing the drugs being manufactured overseas and illegally smuggled into the united states .
>> reporter: earlier this month president obama signed a law banning bath salt drugs and other synthetics but officials complained that as soon as a new law is passed illicit manufacturers try to get around it by making slight changes to their formulas. as authorities begin to crack down, they are still coming to terms with the scope of the threat. mark potter , nbc news, miami.