Synthetic Marijuana Gains Popularity, Troubles Cops - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Synthetic Marijuana Gains Popularity, Troubles Cops

BATAVIAPATCH.COM - A new, "legal" way to get high is becoming a growing problem for authorities and the people who abuse various products containing synthetic marijuana.

Products containing synthetic marijuana mimic the effects of traditional marijuana. The products are largely unregulated and are generally available in local tobacco shops, drug officials said.

The suspected drugs are packaged as potpourri or incense, under names such as "K2," "Black Mamba" and more. They are sold in small quantities such as 1, 3 or 4 grams.

Most of the packaging on these products says "lab certified" or "Not for human consumption." But experts say the sellers and the customers know smoking it can get you high.

"This incense is hundreds of times more expensive than the other incense, so it's kind of sold with kind of a wink and a nod," said Special Agent Will Taylor, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago Field Division.

"These store owners and people don't care what happens," Taylor said. "For them it's all about making money."

For some people, the effects of smoking the synthetic weed will be much like smoking regular weed—some paranoia, some giddiness and bloodshot eyes. For others, products containing the synthetic substance can lead to severe panic attacks, high blood pressure, nausea and an increased heart rate. 

The drug, and its dangers, were widely publicized earlier this month when Karen Dobner said she suspected synthetic marijuana was a factor in her son's June 14 death when he crashed his car in Batavia Township.

Some of these attempts to get high end with a call for help. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 2,874 calls related to synthetic marijuana nationwide in 2010. The centers this year already had 2,052 calls as of May 12.

Illinois centers this year have already received double the number of synthetic marijuana calls than last year.

"This stuff is very prevalent and it's still out there and causing problems," said Dr. Anthony Scalzo, medical director of the Missouri Regional Poison Center. "I can't tell you the number of parents who have contacted me … I have talked to so many parents whose kids are so messed up from this stuff." >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

 

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