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Morgantown Businesses Concerned About Synthetic Drugs Sold in Downtown Area

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Business owners and police believe the drugs are sold in brown paper wrapping. Business owners and police believe the drugs are sold in brown paper wrapping.
MORGANTOWN -

Drugs have been a problem in American culture for decades. The problem of synthetic drugs has made it's way to Morgantown streets, specifically on Walnut and Spruce Streets. Local businesses in that area are voicing their concerns.

"I'm impacted with my business here because it's scaring people off and it just looks 'scuzzy' on the street here, it looks like the hood here," said Gary Tannenbaum, the owner of the Blue Moose Cafe on Walnut Street. "The problem also is that people are winding up in the hospitals."

Tannenabum says he sees people walk past his store with brown paper bags multiple times a day. Both he and the police believe that those bags are filled with synthetic drugs bought from nearby stores.

Almost 30 business owners and other community members met with the city to try to find a solution to this problem. Most agreed that House Bill 4208 will help.

"It focuses on the affects that the products causes," said Ed Preston, Chief of the Morgantown Police Department. "Many unscrupulous individuals have continued to change and manipulate the chemical formulas in order to continue to sell the product. This will deal with the product in general, not one specific chemical, this deals with the overall product."

Tannenbaum agrees this bill is necessary.

"I believe when that stops, a big part of the problems on the street will disappear," said Tannenbaum.

Other business owners said that the synthetic drugs bring undesirable people to the downtown area.

The owner of the law office on Spruce Street even explained in the meeting Thursday that he's had confrontations with people blocking the sidewalk in front of a store known to sell the drug.

Tannenbaum said that this is bigger than just the one drug being sold in the area.

"It has a trickle down affect that is causing other crime. These people are kind of hooked on this stuff and it's not cheap," Tannenbaum said. "They're spending good money on it and there is a lot of burglaries and robberies. People are desperate to get money for their drugs."

The Morgantown Police Department urges anyone that sees any suspicious activity to call 911.