FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway issued a plea to nine oil companies on Tuesday requesting that they put pressure on their franchisees to stop selling synthetic drugs at their stores. 

Conway joined attorney generals from 42 other states in sending letters to Phillips 66, Shell Oil Company, Sunoco, Valero Energy Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp., British Petroleum, Chevron Corp., Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

“These are dangerous drugs – typically made by backyard chemists – that have the potential to cause serious injury or death,”  Conway said. “It’s our hope that the oil companies can work as partners in our efforts to keep synthetic drugs out of the hands of young people.”

In the letter, the attorney generals asked the oil companies to help their franchisees understand the importance of not selling illegal synthetic drugs, require that franchisees stop selling them, break off relationships with any franchisee who doesn't stop selling the drugs and report any franchisee who continues to sell the illegal products to the police. 

Synthetic drug use has increased dramatically, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that approximately 28,000 people went to emergency rooms after using synthetic marijuana in 2011 alone, the AGs say. 

Illegal synthetic drugs, including fake marijuana and synthetic cathinones, often are sold at convenience stores and gas stations as potpourri, Spice, herbal incense, bath salts and other misleading labeling, the AGs say.

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