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      Changes in U.P. drug scene

      The drug scene in the U.P. is changing, and law enforcement and community officials are trying to figure out how to deal with it.

      At Friday's Michigan Municipal League meeting, an UPSET officer gave a presentation to community leaders from all over the U.P. He talked about how the use of synthetic drugs, such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana, are now the norm for drug users.

      And now police are looking to local leaders for help.

      "We're looking for information backing as to what's going on in their community. They reside there, they know what's going on. We're always looking for information to come back to us so we can combat the problem," said UPSET officer George Sailer.

      But there is hope. Officials say there hasn't been much of an increase of drug activity in the past year.

      As for Munising, where the meeting was held, city officials weighed in on the U.P. drug concerns.

      "If you listen to the lieutenant over there, we definitely do. It doesn't impact Munising so much, but I do talk with the chief of police, and it is coming on," said Region 7 Chairman Bob Beauprey.

      While overall drug use has remained steady over the past year, there's been an increase in the use of one drug: methamphetamine. And authorities say meth is one of the most dangerous drugs around.

      "Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous drug. It's an extremely dangerous process to make methamphetamine, and it's very abusive, and it's very costly to investigate and to clean up," Sailer said.

      And, it's one of the hardest to combat.

      "Synthetic-type drugs are forever changing, and the manufacturers or the people who are manufacturing them are changing it and tweaking the formula, so we have a difficult time getting those drugs scheduled so they actually are illegal," Sailer added.