Gimbel said he is most disturbed by the fact that the gumballs appeared to be targeted toward younger users.
"I can't say it's a surprise in the sense of drug traffickers and dealers looking for a new way to market their products," said Gimbel, who recalled the popularity of marijuana baked into brownies during the late 1960s and Ecstasy tablets made to look like candy and placed on necklaces a few years ago. "They need to find new customers, and this is a way to find new customers. This is very concerning."
"Can you imagine - if this continues - what Halloween will be like?" Gimbel asked.
Candy is not the only way drugs are being concealed.
Katie, a recent graduate of a Howard County high school in Ellicott City, said she used her bra to conceal her lithium, Xanax and Percocet while in class.
Katie, who did wish to use her name and that of her high school, said she would remove the underwire from her bra and slide pills in its place. The whole process took about five minutes.
"It is a narrow opening but it is the perfect size," she said, adding that she would pop her pills in class or in the bathroom. "If you wear a sweat shirt, no one pays that much attention."
Katie said other students would take the ink out of ballpoint pens and replace it with cocaine or ground-up pills; remove lipstick from holders and replace it with pills; and slip pills into sneakers with zippers on the side and baseball caps with secret compartments.
"It speaks to the creativity of this generation," said Katie, who was surprised to learn about gumballs.
The most memorable method was used by classmates who removed the makeup from compacts and replaced it with ground-up pills or cocaine.
"You can put a straight edge in there and you can snort it with that," said Katie, who added that her friends preferred to use their school identification cards to make powder lines to snort.
"It's a matter of opportunity, what's around," she said.
Lee, the 20-year DEA veteran, said there are numerous Web sites dedicated to "pro-drug crowds" that detail ways to conceal and consume drugs.
"The idea of the DEA monitoring these drug sites is not that practical," Lee said. "It's almost impossible to keep up with the new trends because they are so vast."
Officials worry after drugs are found in gumballs
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