New Legal Drug Bates TeensBy
Move over Marijuana, a new drug has just hit the market. It packs all the punch of pot, and then some. It doesn’t show up on drug tests and is readily available for purchase. It can be bought through the internet, or right over the counter at your local smoke shop. Worst of all, it’s legal and being marketed towards teens. As increasing publicity hits the mass media and social networking sites, this drug seems destined to make a big splash amongst the teen party crowd. Unfortunately, it’s impact is already being felt in hospital emergency rooms.
Called “K2″, the new substance is sold as herbal incense. But at $30 a pack – approximately the same cost as illegal marijuana – customers buy it expecting much more that a pleasant aroma. And the product doesn’t disappoint. It’s the latest in a string of highly potent products that include a recently discovered synthetic form of cannabinoids. They started appearing in the U.S. a little less than a year ago, and have been sold under several different names (Spice, Summit, Red Dragon Smoke, Fake Weed, Supernova, Genie etc.). K2 alone, has been linked to at least thirty hospitalizations in the St. Louis area in just the past couple of months.
The synthetic Cannabinoids of K2 produce effects which are significantly more powerful than those produced by the naturally occurring Cannabinoids found in street level Marijuana. One of the active ingredients, HU-210, is between 100 – 800 times more potent than THC, and chemists have found the smoked drug to be ten times more powerful than pot. The side effects are more powerful as well, with some users experiencing severe heart palpitations, dangerous hallucinations, dangerously elevated blood pressure, vomiting and panic attacks. The drug is too new for experts to gauge how powerful the addictive properties of K2 will be, and no information is yet available evaluate the mid to long-range health effects.
Though the U.S. Customs Service banned a predecessor of K2 from being imported into the United States, a string of imitation products quickly developed to fill the void. Several states, and the federal government, have been left scrambling to develop legislation and enforcement initiatives in response to the new threat. In the meantime, we are left with a very dangerous product on the market. One which is legal to possess and use, is easily purchased, and growing in popularity amongst teens.
Why is it legal? Because it’s sold as either plant food, or incense. There’s been no testing done on humans. Unfortunately, as with the huffing of household chemicals, there’s no shortage of people who are willing to give it a try. Internet blogs are full of users bragging about the use of the drug; many offering instructions on how to use the product. The catch phrases, “legal” and “undetectable” beckon to many teens. Smoke shops can’t keep it on their shelves.
Parents should look for dilated pupils, distorted perceptions, trouble estimating elapsed time, hallucinations, and a spacey attitude. Effects last approximately thirty minutes.
The drug itself looks much like marijuana, and most commonly resembles green vegetation. The synthetic compound can be sprayed over any substance, so the product in the package can actually come in many forms.
Parents should be on the lookout for smoking paraphernalia. K2 is used in the same way as marijuana. It is rolled into joints or smoked in bongs. For pictures of this paraphernalia, visit our Marijuana Tutorial.