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Duluth shelter seeing problems from synthetics

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A Duluth shelter for vulnerable residents is complaining of problems from the growing use of synthetic drugs.

Staffers at the nonprofit CHUM agency say they have caught more than 100 people smoking, snorting or injecting synthetics on the shelter's downtown property in the past year, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Support staffer Shawn Carr says the shelter is spending so much time policing people that it's being pulled away from its primary mission of helping them.

He blames Last Place on Earth, a nearby head shop that sells synthetics, and says the problem dropped sharply when the shop was closed for a week recently due to the owner's arrest.

But the owner, Jim Carlson, says if people weren't using his products they'd be using alcohol or drugs.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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