When the federal government -- a "synthetic marijuana" marketed as herbal incense -- the problem.
They were right. A year later, kids and young adults are still getting what they call a "legal high" by smoking similar products coated with new chemicals.
"When the DEA banned those five chemicals, the people who make this stuff were already geared up to replace it," Police Chief Charles Goss told Strongsville Patch last spring. "They never missed a beat in having new stock ready."
And although the chemicals are different, they're still dangerous, authorities say.
Last week, two teens were taken from mall to the hospital after they reportedly product.
There have been a number of other instances, including one last April when she felt like she was "dead and in a dream" after smoking fake pot.
"Synthetic marijuana is still around, and it's still dangerous," Detective Lt. John Janowski said.
Legal Doesn't Mean Safe
When you smoke marijuana, it's the plant that produces the high. With the synthetic stuff, it's chemicals that do.
With names like K2 and Starry Night, the products are labeled herbal incense and marked "not for human consumption."
But teens and young adults use them as a legal alternative to marijuana, knowing they can light up and not be busted for possession.
In March 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration banned the five chemicals found in the products, citing health concerns and growing reports from emergency rooms about convulsions, anxiety attacks, elevated heart rates and disorientation.
Within weeks, though, new "herbal incense" products like K3 were back on shelves, containing new chemicals that are still legal.
"Instead of chemicals 1 through 5, they're using chemicals 6 through 10," Janowski said.
No Bath Salts, But 'Jewelry Cleaner'
So far, Strongsville police haven't come across any new versions of "bath salts" -- chemicals that, when snorted or injected, produce a high like cocaine or methamphetamine.
The found in those products.
But Janowski said a new product has emerged -- powdered jewelry cleaner.
People are now snorting it, and because it's sold and labeled as something perfectly legal, law enforcement's hands are tied in taking it off shelves.
The situation is not unlike people sniffing glue or huffing aerosol cans, police say, where legal products are used for other things.
"They can't actually ban herbal incense," Janowski said. "They can only ban the chemicals."